The ASA announced that it has recorded a record low amount of ice in the Arctic region, or more commonly known as the North Pole and surrounding areas. The agency’s satellites have been monitoring ice levels for years and analyzing the ice cover, which appears to be shrinking, CNET reports.
The ice level reached its lowest point a dozen days ago, and this is happening at a time when new ice should actually begin to accumulate more quickly. This is the sixth lowest ice extent since records began in 1979.
The situation is similar at the South Pole. Thus, at both poles, the level of ice is much less, which is a problem for the world’s oceans and for the ecosystem as a whole. And it’s the end of winter there, so it’s the lowest winter maximum since records have been kept.
Little ice is also a problem for local flora and fauna, and the influx of so much water into the world’s oceans reduces its salinity and raises its level. The bright ice also reflects much of the sunlight back into space and helps regulate global temperatures. At the same time, liquid water absorbs 90% of the sun’s heat, which further warms the world’s oceans and makes it difficult for new ice to form.
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Satellite data show that the ice in the Arctic has shrunk from an area of 14.62 million km. in March of this year up to 4.23 million sq. km. in September. The area lost is enough to cover the entire US territory.
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Some of it will recover during the winter months, but there is another problem that scientists are discovering. Over time, the period for the formation of new ice becomes shorter and the new ice itself is thinner. Scientists note that these are not anomalies, but consequences of decades of warming and humanity’s slow response to pay attention to the problem.
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Editor: Martin Deshew