Arctic Sea Ice Not Only Covers Less Area, It's Thinner Too


image: National Snow and Ice Data Center, courtesy J. Maslanik and C. Fowler, Univ. Colorado

There's some new satellite data in from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center and it further illustrates the degree to which Arctic sea ice has shrunk over the past decade, as well as showing how much the ice that remains is thinning:In 2008-2009 the maximum extent of sea ice was 5.85 million square miles, or some 278,000 square miles below the average maximum for the period of 1979-2000. That's the fifth lowest maximum sea ice extent on record. In case you're wondering, the past six years have seen the six lowest sea ice extents.

Thin Ice Now the Dominant Ice Type in Arctic
Perhaps the more interesting thing is that, according to a study done by the University of Colorado-Boulder's Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research over the past five years newer, thinner ice has replaced older ice as the dominant type. This seasonal ice now composes about 70% of Arctic ice in winter; in the 1980s and 90s that figure was 40-50%. First-year sea ice is usually about 6 feet thick, while older sea ice that has lasted through one summer is on average about 9 feet thick.


image: National Snow and Ice Data Center, courtesy J. Maslanik and C. Fowler, Univ. Colorado

via: Science Codex
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Tags: Arctic | Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects | Global Warming Science

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