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Issue #1562      29 August 2012

Arctic Ice reaches record low

Data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre reveals shocking statistics which point towards a record low ice coverage of the North Pole with five more weeks of the ice melt season still to come. Was the intense storm over the Arctic Ocean to blame or is there something more sinister?

According to the latest report from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), the extent of the Arctic sea ice in the first fortnight of August was below the record low daily ice extents registered in 2007 and by August 13, “ice extent was already among the four lowest summer minimum extents in the satellite record”. The report states that there was a rapid ice loss between August 4 and August 8, which coincided with an intense storm in the Arctic Ocean.

In tangible and more exact terms, Arctic sea ice cover on August 13 stood at 5.09 million square kilometres, while at the previous low record on the same day in 2007, it was 5.56 million square kilometres. Furthermore, and more tellingly, the surface area of the ice cover is a full 2.69 million square kilometres below the average area between 1979 and 2000.

The data from the NSIDC is backed up by the Norwegian Data Centre, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre, whose spokesperson, director and founder, recently declared in an interview to Reuters news agency that the ice cover “has never measured less than it does today”.


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