Arctic sea ice shrinks to second lowest level


SEA ICE on the Arctic Ocean shrank to its second-smallest extent since modern records began, in keeping with a long-term trend, the US National Snow and Ice Data Center reported yesterday.

The annual sea ice minimum was reached on September 9th, the centre said. “Changing winds could still push ice flows together reducing ice extend further,” the researchers said.

A full analysis will be available next month, when monthly data are available for all of September, which is usually the month when the annual minimum is reached.

Arctic Ocean ice is an important sign of a changing climate and what happens in the Arctic has a major influence on global weather patterns.

At its apparent minimum, sea ice around the North Pole covered 1.67 million square miles (4.33 million square km). That measurement is 61,800 square miles (160,000sq km) above the all-time record low reached in 2007, the centre said.

However, it is far below the average minimum for the period 1979 through 2000, according to the data centre.

The satellite record began in 1979.

These figures differ from those reported by the University of Bremen in German, which issued a statement that the Arctic ice reached a record low minimum on September 8th. – (Reuters)