US agency NSID reveals Arctic Sea Ice Cover touches 2nd-lowest point on record

According to the reports of U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado, the Arctic Sea Ice reached its the second lowest point on 10th September. It covered 1.60 million square miles whereas the lowest mark was set in September 2012, when the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean reached 1.31 million square miles.

The 37-year-old satellite data had revealed that on September 17, 2012, the Arctic ice stood at its minimum at 4.15 million square kilometers.  Scientists say that this year’s summer is unusually cloudy and cold, and such weather conditions must have slowed down the rate of melting of the summer ice. However, this did not happen, and we have the second lowest Arctic ice cover since the days when we started collating satellite data.

However, scientists have not called it anything like a disaster but have given a grim picture of the future weather which could see a dramatic and further loss of ice.

Ominous Signs

The melting and the formation of ice in Arctic region is a repetitive phenomenon with the ice cover growing each winter and shrinking each spring and summer. However this year the Arctic ice has shrunk at a much faster pace in the first fortnight of September. The present melting of North Pole Ice is 34,100 square kilometers per day compared to the ‘1981 to 2010’ long-term average of 21,000 square kilometers per day.

Local factors could be a cause

The air is cooling in September, and the surface melt of Arctic Ocean ice is at its minimum implying that the relatively rapid early September ice loss was due to extra heat in the upper ocean. The loss of the ice is most pronounced and visible in the Chukchi Sea, northwest of Alaska. The region also saw to major storms hitting the area, and this could also have contributed to the loss of more Ice in the August period.

Another reason which scientists have indicted for the destruction of ice cover is the existence of a lot of thin ice at the start of the melt season. Thin ice does not require a large quantity of latent heat to melt and therefore the excess heat would have led to a greater loss of north polar ice cap

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