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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

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