Arctic Ice at Historic Minimum

Tue, 2008-10-28 09:44Richard Littlemore
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Arctic Ice at Historic Minimum

“The ice thickness was fairly constant for the five winters before this, but it plummeted in the winter after the 2007 minimum.”

- lead author Dr. Katharine Giles

A new study, conducted by academics from University College London, published in Geophysical Research Letters and reported by the BBC, shows that the total mass of Arctic ice has dropped to the lowest level ever recorded by satellite.

Previous studies had shown the extent or total area of Arctic sea ice reached its smallest level in 2007, but this new work shows that the ice thinned a great deal more in 2008, reducing total mass to a record low.  



This reduction in ice mass happened during a summer that featured "normal" arctic weather, quite dfferent from the 2007 conditions.



Sea ice in the Arctic Circle is currently melting at a pace far greater than scientists had originally projected.  While this is bad news for the planet — sea ice helps reflect the sun’s rays and keeps the arctic cooler — it has created new paths for the oil industry to exploit the resources hidden deep under the icy water.


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