A NASA study finds that perennial sea ice in the Arctic is melting faster than previously thought--at a rate of 9 percent per decade. If these melting rates continue for a few more decades, the perennial sea ice will likely disappear entirely within this century, due to rising temperatures and interactions between ice, ocean and the atmosphere that accelerate the melting process.
Perennial sea ice floats in the polar oceans and remains at the end of the summer, when the ice cover is at its minimum and seasonal sea ice has melted. This year-round ice averages about 3 meters (9.8 feet) in depth, but can be as thick as 7 meters (23 feet).
The study also finds that temperatures in the Arctic are increasing at the rate of 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 Fahrenheit) per decade.
Krishna Ramanujan | EurekAlert!
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