Arctic summer sea ice second lowest on record: USA researchers

Sea ice is seen from NASA's Operation Ice Bridge research aircraft off the northwest coast

'Devastating' loss pushes Arctic sea ice to second-lowest level on record

Satellites recorded this year's sea ice minimum at 3.74 million square kilometers on September 15, only the second time the ice has been measured below 4 million square kilometers in 40 years of record keeping, said researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

"Sea ice removal exposes dark ocean, which creates a powerful feedback mechanism", Marco Tedesco, a geophysicist at Columbia University's Earth Institute, told AFP.

He explained: "This threshold has been crossed because this summer has seen several periods of very rapid sea ice loss linked, in part, to the record-breaking heatwave in Siberia".

Researchers have discovered that Arctic sea ice has melted, leaving the second lowest level on record in 42 years. By March 2019, just 1.2 percent of the ice was considered old. You're losing extent, and you're losing the thick ice as well. Those dark waters take in solar radiation instead of showing it revoke the environment, a procedure that magnifies warming and assists to describe why Arctic temperatures have actually increased more than two times as quick as the remainder of the world over the last thirty years. "Changes in sea ice at the end of the twentieth century are substantial, and if emissions follow an RCP 8.5-like path, this region is likely to experience extremes in temperature, sea ice and precipitation phase far outside anything experienced in the past century and probably much longer".

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Scientists aboard a Greenpeace research vessel say the dwindling ice cover means an uncertain future for animals like seals and polar bears.

Greenland's huge ice sheet on land produced a net loss of over 5 trillion tons previous year, all of which went into the sea.

"We see the impact of Arctic warming in the form of unprecedented heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfire that we are now contending with here in the USA and around the rest of the world". This could be the start of a new Arctic fire regime.

Serreze said a Siberian heat wave last spring and a natural Arctic climate phenomenon were at play as well as the warming from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. "This is really striking, but unfortunately, not surprising".

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© Clement Sabourin Ice chunks are seen in the Northwest Passage near the CCGS Amundsen, a Canadian research ice-breaker navigating in the Canadian High Arctic. "The year 2020 will be an exclamation point in a downward trend in the expansion of the Arctic sea ice".

The NSIDC cautioned that this is only a preliminary record for sea ice's seasonal low, and that a more complete analysis will come in October.

"When the sea ice disappears, the incident sunlight gets absorbed in the ocean, helping to further warm the Earth", Claire Parkinson, climate scientist at NASA, told AFP. This ocean heat build-up then delays the autumn freeze, resulting in a pattern of less ice.

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