According to the report published by NASA and NSIDC – National Snow and Ice Data Center at the Colorado University, the ice in the Arctic Sea has reached it’s yearly lowest extent recently.
The NASA and NSIDC analyzed the data received via satellite which showed that at 4.64 million sq. kilometres (1.79 million sq. miles), the ice of the Arctic Sea’s minimum extent is the lowest (positioning eighth)considering the long-term and consistent satellite record which actually started in 1978.
Arctic sea ice is the planet’s air conditioner
The ice in the Arctic sea, the frozen layer of seawater that covers the vast area of the Arctic Ocean along with the neighbouring areas, is commonly referred as the air conditioner of the planet. This is because the ice surface bounces back the solar energy into space which eventually cools down the globe.
The ice cap of the sea varies with the season, shrinking in the summer and spring and growing in the winter and autumn. However, since the1970s, the minimum extent of summertime that generally occurs in the month of September has now decreased and at a rapid rate due to increasing temperatures.
As per the statistics of this year, the Arctic temperature has been a bit moderate, considering such high latitudes. Also, it was better and cooler than the average of other regions. Indeed, the minimum extent of sea ice in 2017 is 610,000 sq. miles that make around 1.58 million sq. kilometres below the average minimum in between 1981-2010.
According to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center senior climate scientist – Clair Parkinson – in Greenbelt Maryland;
“How much ice is left at the end of summer in any given year depends on both the state of the ice cover earlier in the year and the weather conditions affecting the ice, “The weather conditions have not been particularly noteworthy this summer. The fact that we still ended up with low sea ice extent is because the baseline ice conditions today are worse than the baseline 38 years ago.”
The effects of low Arctic ice
With the lowest Arctic ice records in 2012, 2016 and 2007, we faced unusual weather conditions. These climate conditions included strong storms in the summer that severely hammered the cover of ice and also increased the melting.
“In all of those cases, the weather conditions contributed to the reduced ice coverage. But if the exact same weather system had occurred three decades ago, it is very unlikely that it would have caused as much damage to the sea ice cover, because back then the ice was thicker and it more completely covered the region, hence making it more able to withstand storms,” – further added by Parkinson.
On the other end, Antarctica is now heading to the year’s maximum sea ice that commonly occurs in October.
Hence, adding the Arctic and Antarctic extents of sea ice month wise and as per the records of the satellite, Earth is losing sea ice since 1970. In fact, every month this year from January until August; there was a monthly record of low sea ice, as confirmed by Parkinson.