The sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has melted to the lowest level ever recorded since it was first measured in 1979, the NASA space agency says.
According to NASA, the sea ice fell to 4.9 million square kilometers as it was observed on Sunday, which is about 80,000 square kilometers less than the earlier record charted on September 18, 2007.
The sea ice cap normally grows during the Arctic winter and shrinks as the weather gets warmer. However over the past three decades, satellites have recorded a 13% reduction for each decade in the summertime minimum.
The reports have also revealed a decline in the thickness of the sea ice, causing raising sea levels and the Arctic Ocean’s ice falling far.
Professor Peter Wadhams, from Cambridge University, said a number of scientists had earlier predicted that the retreat of the sea ice would speed up the melting process and that by 2015 or 2016 the summer Arctic would become ice-free.
He went on to say that the predictions came true as the sea ice has become so thin that it may disappear soon, stressing that the submarines’ measurements have revealed that since the 1980s the Arctic Ocean has lost “at least 40% of its thickness.”
“This means an inevitable death for the ice cover,” Wadhams said. “Implications are serious: the increased open water lowers the average albedo [reflectivity] of the planet, accelerating global warming; and we are also finding the open water causing seabed permafrost to melt, releasing large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere.”
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