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Home* News and Stories → Mini­mum record of drift ice in the arc­tic

Mini­mum record of drift ice in the arc­tic

The Nor­we­gi­an Meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal insti­tu­te is fol­lowing the drift ice deve­lo­p­ment in the arc­tic sin­ce 30 years now, and simi­lar insti­tu­ti­ons in other arc­tic nati­ons do the same with simi­lar results: the­re has never been less ice than the­re is now. Even in Sep­tem­ber 2007, the mini­mum year so far, the­re was more ice than now. The­re are about 3 mil­li­on squa­re kilo­me­tres ice less than in 1979, an area 8 times lar­ger than Nor­way (without Spits­ber­gen).

It is not only the area that is lost, but also the chan­ge in qua­li­ty that makes experts worry. In the past, arc­tic sea ice used to be lar­ge­ly of lar­ge, strong, thick floes mul­ti-year ice. The­se have lar­ge­ly disap­peared. Now, most of the ice con­sists of much thin­ner one-year ice, which does not com­pa­re to the stron­ger, older ice in thic­kness, sta­bi­li­ty and as a habi­tat for the arc­tic eco­sys­tem.

The drift ice is cur­r­ent­ly far north from any coast in the Spits­ber­gen archi­pe­la­go, but the ice loss is far more dra­ma­tic on the other side of the arc­tic, north of wes­tern arc­tic Cana­da, Alas­ka and Sibe­ria.

Ice in Hin­lo­pen Strait, mid July 2005.
This year, the area is com­ple­te­ly ice free.

Minimum record of drift ice in the arctic

Source: Nor­we­gi­sches Meteo­ro­lo­gi­sches Insti­tut

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last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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