Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

2019 Arctic sea ice minimum tied for second lowest on record

24.09.2019

The extent of Arctic sea ice at the end of this summer was effectively tied with 2007 and 2016 for second lowest since modern record keeping began in the late 1970s. An analysis of satellite data by NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder shows that the 2019 minimum extent, which was likely reached on Sept. 18, measured 1.60 million square miles (4.15 million square kilometers).

The Arctic sea ice cap is an expanse of frozen seawater floating on top of the Arctic Ocean and neighboring seas. Every year, it expands and thickens during the fall and winter and grows smaller and thinner during the spring and summer.


An opening in the sea ice cover north of Greenland is partially filled in by much smaller sea ice rubble and floes, as seen during an Operation IceBridge flight on Sept. 9, 2019.

Credit: NASA/Linette Boisvert

But in the past decades, increasing temperatures have caused marked decreases in the Arctic sea ice extents in all seasons, with particularly rapid reductions in the minimum end-of-summer ice extent.

Changes in Arctic sea ice cover have wide-ranging impacts. The sea ice affects local ecosystems, regional and global weather patterns, and the circulation of the oceans.

"This year's minimum sea ice extent shows that there is no sign that the sea ice cover is rebounding," said Claire Parkinson, a climate change senior scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "The long-term trend for Arctic sea ice extent has been definitively downward. But in recent years, the extent is low enough that weather conditions can either make that particular year's extent into a new record low or keep it within the group of the lowest."

The melt season started with a very low sea ice extent, followed by a very rapid ice loss in July that slowed down considerably after mid-August. Microwave instruments onboard United States Department of Defense's meteorological satellites monitored the changes from space.

"This was an interesting melt season," said Walt Meier, a sea ice researcher at NSIDC. "At the beginning of August we were at record low ice levels for that time of the year, so a new minimum record low could have been in the offering.

But unlike 2012, the year with the lowest ice extent on record, which experienced a powerful August cyclone that smashed the ice cover and accelerated its decline, the 2019 melt season didn't see any extreme weather events. Although it was a warm summer in the Arctic, with average temperatures 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 5 degrees Celsius) above what is normal for the central Arctic, events such as this year's severe Arctic wildfire season or European heat wave ended up not having much impact on the sea ice melt.

"By the time the Siberian fires kicked into high gear in late July, the Sun was already getting low in the Arctic, so the effect of the soot from the fires darkening the sea ice surface wasn't that large," Meier said. "As for the European heat wave, it definitely affected land ice loss in Greenland and also caused a spike in melt along Greenland's east coast, but that's an area where sea ice is being transported down the coast and melting fairly quickly anyway."

patrick lynch | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019-arctic-sea-ice-extent-fourth-lowest-on-record

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Atmospheric pressure impacts greenhouse gas emissions from leaky oil and gas wells
21.10.2019 | University of British Columbia

nachricht Strong storms generating earthquake-like seismic activity
16.10.2019 | Florida State University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

A very special kind of light is emitted by tungsten diselenide layers. The reason for this has been unclear. Now an explanation has been found at TU Wien (Vienna)

It is an exotic phenomenon that nobody was able to explain for years: when energy is supplied to a thin layer of the material tungsten diselenide, it begins to...

Im Focus: An ultrafast glimpse of the photochemistry of the atmosphere

Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have explored the initial consequences of the interaction of light with molecules on the surface of nanoscopic aerosols.

The nanocosmos is constantly in motion. All natural processes are ultimately determined by the interplay between radiation and matter. Light strikes particles...

Im Focus: Shaping nanoparticles for improved quantum information technology

Particles that are mere nanometers in size are at the forefront of scientific research today. They come in many different shapes: rods, spheres, cubes, vesicles, S-shaped worms and even donut-like rings. What makes them worthy of scientific study is that, being so tiny, they exhibit quantum mechanical properties not possible with larger objects.

Researchers at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE's Argonne National...

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

Im Focus: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer LBF and BAM develop faster procedure for flame-retardant plastics

21.10.2019 | Materials Sciences

For EVs with higher range: Take greater advantage of the potential offered by lightweight construction materials

21.10.2019 | Materials Sciences

Benefit and risk: Meta-analysis draws a heterogeneous picture of drug-coated balloon angioplasty

21.10.2019 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>