The Arctic Sea ice reached its lowest annual level on September 19th, and the news is not good.
This year, the ice reached its sixth-ever lowest record. The data about the level of the sea ice is collected using satellites. The work is a collaboration between scientists at NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
Sadly, things are not much better in the Antarctic, which reached its lowest maximum extent ever recorded on September 10th, at the close of the winter months. This year, the ice sheet grew much slower than it should have.
To put the Arctic Sea ice loss level in perspective, the amount lost compared to the historical 1981-2010 average is enough to cover the entire continental United States.
Commenting on this year’s sea ice, Walter Meier, a sea ice scientist at NSIDC, stated:
“It’s a record-smashing sea ice low in the Antarctic. Sea ice growth appears low around nearly the whole continent as opposed to any one region.”
Nathan Kurtz, the lab chief of NASA’s Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, added:
“Thickness at the end of the growth season largely determines the survivability of sea ice. New research is using satellites like NASA’s ICESat-2 (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2) to monitor how thick the ice is year-round. At NASA we’re interested in taking cutting-edge measurements, but we’re also trying to connect them to the historical record to better understand what’s driving some of these changes that we’re seeing.”
You can find the original publication here.