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A Bit of Less Bad Than Usual News About the Arctic

A Bit of Less Bad Than Usual News About the Arctic

Arctic Iceberg and Sea Ice

A giant iceberg floats amongst sea ice floes off the coast of Greenland, as seen throughout an aerial survey on April 21, 2018. (Source: NASA/Linette Boisvert)

Ordinarily, I would not be buoyed by information that an expanse of Arctic sea ice the measurement of Arizona and Nevada has gone lacking.

But given the state of the world proper now, I’m taking a tiny measure of solace in the newest evaluation of Arctic sea ice situations, launched yesteray by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. It exhibits that the area’s floating lid of ice seemingly reached its annual most extent on March fifth, measuring ‘simply’ eleventh lowest in the satellite tv for pc document, which stretches again to 1979.

This 12 months’s most extent is 228,000 sq. miles beneath the 1981 to 2010 common, in accordance with the NSIDC’s preliminary evaluation. (In the curiosity of full disclosure, the NSIDC relies at the University of Colorado, the place I work as Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism.)

Arctic Sea Maximum Extent

The geographic extent of sea ice in the Arctic on March 5, 2020 reached 5.81 million sq. miles — seemingly the most extent for the 12 months. The orange line exhibits the 1981 to 2010 common extent for that day. (Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center)

With the annual most extent reached, Arctic sea ice is now beginning to shrink as temperatures heat. This seemingly will culminate in September when the annual sea ice minimal normally is reached.

Lest you assume that the present not-as-bad-as-it-could-have-been information portends one thing not so unhealthy in September, the NSIDC affords this warning: “the specific maximum extent of sea ice in any given year does not correlate to the minimum extent.”

That’s largely as a result of summer time climate is essentially reponsible for a way low the ice extent will go, culminating in the September minimal. We’ll simply should see how issues go in the coming months.

One factor is definite: Despite any month-to-month ups and downs in sea ice cowl relative to the common, the long-term development for each month of the 12 months is down, because of human-caused local weather change.

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