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Daily Archives: 23. August 2018 − News & Stories

Again, nega­ti­ve records from the arc­tic: ice cover low, tem­pe­ra­tures high

It comes hard­ly as a sur­pri­se: once again, the­re are nega­ti­ve records of the cur­rent sea ice situa­tions. As the Nor­we­gi­an Ice Ser­vice released on Twit­ter, the­re has never been as litt­le ice around Sval­bard as curr­ent­ly sin­ce begin­ning of the recor­dings in 1967. As the latest ice chart shows, both Sval­bard and neigh­bou­ring Frans Josef Land are com­ple­te­ly free of sea ice:

ice chart 22 August 2018

Ice chart of 22 August 2018 (by MET Nor­way).

Accor­ding to the Nor­we­gi­an Ice Ser­vice, the sea ice cover in the Sval­bard area was 123,065 squa­re kilo­me­t­res, which is 105,139 squa­re kilo­me­t­res less com­pared to the long-term avera­ge (1981-2010), a loss of almost 50 %!

But sci­en­tists are even more worried about the loss of ice north of Green­land, which is also visi­ble in the ice chart abo­ve. Nor­t­hern­most Green­land is an area whe­re ice is pushed against the coast by curr­ents, so it is – was – buil­ding up a very solid ice cover aver­aging 4 m in thic­k­ness and rea­ching more than 20 m thic­k­ness in places! This ice cover was, howe­ver, wea­k­en­ed by warm air incur­si­ons such as the extre­me event in Febru­ary. The wea­k­en­ed ice could be moved around by wind much more easi­ly, and this is exact­ly what hap­pen­ed now in a lar­ge area north of Green­land. Even if the water sur­face free­zes again soon, the dama­ge is now done and it is hard­ly rever­si­ble: as the term mul­ti-year ice sug­gests, it takes many years to replace a lost area of such ice, but it is hard­ly expec­ted that this will hap­pen at all given cur­rent cli­ma­te deve­lo­p­ments.

Rossøya, Vesle Taveløya ice-free

Sval­bard fur­thest north: Ros­søya (left) and Ves­le Tav­leøya com­ple­te­ly ice-free, mid-July 2018.

It fits into this pic­tu­re that Lon­gye­ar­by­en has now got an unbro­ken series of 90 (!) months with tem­pe­ra­tures abo­ve the long-term avera­ge. A dra­ma­tic deve­lo­p­ment, but hard­ly a sur­pri­se.


News-Listing live generated at 2024/July/18 at 01:39:19 Uhr (GMT+1)