October low-level Arctic sea ice: Danish researchers | Europe

For the month of October, the measurements show an 8.2 percent downward trend in snow over the past 10 years.

Researchers in Denmark said Wednesday that sea ice in the Arctic was at record levels in October, as unusually warm water slowed snow recovery.

The dwindling sea ice comes as a reminder of how the Arctic is hit by global warming.

Since the 1990s, warming has been twice faster in the Arctic than in the rest of the world, as “Arctic amplification” is said to be a phenomenon in which wind, ice, and water interact in a stronger way. is.

“The October Arctic sea range is the lowest to record and the sea ice growth rate is slower than normal,” said Rasmus Tonboi, a scientist at Denmark’s Meteorological Institute (DMI). 40 years.

According to preliminary satellite data used by the institute, the sea ice surface area on October 27 was 6.5 million square kilometers (2.5 million square miles).

Every year some ice formed in Arctic waters melts in summer.

It typically reaches a low point of about five million square kilometers (1.9 million square miles), but then improves to cover about 15 million square kilometers (5.7 million square miles) in winter.

Warmer temperatures are now reducing both summer and winter snow.

Satellite data have been collected since 1979 to accurately monitor snow and the trend toward scarcity is evident.

For the month of October, the measurements show an 8.2 percent downward trend in snow over the past 10 years.

Warmer than usual

Already in September, researchers noted the second lowest extent of sea ice recorded in the Arctic, though not significantly lowering the low levels recorded in 2012.

But higher-than-normal seawater slowed the formation of new ice in October.

The water temperature in the eastern part of the Arctic, north of Siberia, was 2 ° C (35.6 ° F) to 4C (39.2F) warmer than normal and it was 1-2 cm warmer in Baffin Bay, DMI said in a statement. .

The institute said it was a trend seen in recent years, described as a “vicious spiral”.

“This is a trend we’ve been seeing in previous years with a longer open-water season, which allows the sun to warm the ocean for longer periods of time, resulting in shorter winters, so the ice is not as thick. As it used to be “said.

Since the melting ice is already in the ocean, it does not directly contribute to sea level rise.

“As the ice disappears,” said Claire Parkinson, a NASA climate scientist, “is absorbed into the ocean” to heat the Earth.

Direct heat

Thus, the oceans are directly heated, with less ice reflecting sunlight.

Over the last 40 years, the Arctic has also become a strategic interest for world powers.

Less ice in some areas has opened up new sea lanes, which are destined to play a larger role in international trade, meaning a larger financial stake for Arctic state actors.

The region is estimated to hold 13 percent of the world’s oil reserves and 30 percent of undiscovered natural gas reserves.

Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) on Tuesday said under current levels of atmospheric CO2 – 400 million per million – the melting of Arctic sea ice would raise global temperatures by 0.2C (32.3F).

This is on top of 1.5C (34.7F) warming. Our current emission levels have provided the all but inevitable and safe cap on global warming for the Paris Climate Agreement.


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