Record 10-19% Declines Seen in Arctic Sea Ice Thickness Last Winter, Satellite Data Reveals

arctic ice tub photo

photo: fruchtzwerg's world

Now that Arctic sea ice has begun its annual winter freeze, you might think that climate change gloom and doom coming from the northern climes might take a seasonal hiatus, but you'd be wrong. According to new data regarding the thickness of Arctic sea ice from last winter, the thickness of ice in some regions of the Arctic declined by as much as 19% , compared to the previous five years.

Published in Geophysical Research Letters, the results of research conducted at University College London found that:
Some places Experienced 49cm of Ice Thickness Loss

Last winter the average thickness of sea ice over the whole Arctic fell by 26 cm (10%) compared with the average thickness of the previous five winters, but sea ice in the western Arctic lost around 49 cm of thickness.

Difficult to Measure Changes Across Whole Arctic
In describing the challenges faced in their research, Dr Katherine Giles said,
As the Arctic ice pack is constantly moving, conventional methods can only provide sparse and intermittent measurements of ice thickness from which it is difficult to tell whether the changes are local or across the whole Arctic.

Satellites provide the only means to determine trends and a consistent and wide area basis. Envisat altimeter data have provided the critical third dimension to the satellite images which have already revealed a dramatic decrease in the area of ice covered in the Arctic.

via: Science Codex
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