Sunday, May 11, 2008

Arctic ice sheet - Smallest of all time

Researchers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency found at their latest study that ice sheets in the Arctic Ocean could shrink this summer to the smallest area on record since satellite observation of the sheets began in 1978. This shrinking is happening gradually year by year due to the global warming and increased average temperatures.

The most serious decline refers to the
areas covered with perennial ice that have been gradually shrinking since 2005, and this year, areas with perennial ice further withered to nearly half the size seen in 2005, according to the results of this study.

Results of this study are also confirmed with the previous results of NASA-processed microwave data and this all happens despite this year's cold winter.

This picture shows changes in Arctic ice cap from period between 1980 and 2003. Even changes in this period were very significant, showing what has now became constant pattern of losing ice. The latest studies showed that today's situation is much worse because ice sheet is melting faster than ever before, especially after 2005 and the tremendous decline of perennial ice. Many different studies agree that if current global warming trend continues, Arctic would be ice free by the summer of 2040 . Perennial ice now covers less than 30 % of the Arctic, and the thinner the ice is, the more easily it melts because of the higher air and water temperatures.

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