The bad news about Arctic ice levels continues this year with some reports suggesting that rising temperatures are creating a record low. March is usually about he time when Arctic sea ice levels should peak but looking at current projections it’s not looking good. Of course it’s best to wait for the real results to be confirmed but overall it’s a pretty bleak picture.
This is not a seasonal problem, the record lows are not a particular point in time which can be explained away from individual weather events. The real events and the worrying trend can be seen in this short time lapse video which demonstrates how Arctic sea ice has been receding over the last two decades or two. Witness the acceleration over the last few years –
In the video, the seasonal ice is dark blue, the old ice (classified as 9 years or more) is in white. The patterns of melting are fairly well established however you can see the startling changes in this video. It was produced by the climate.gov team using data supplied by Mark Tschudi from the University of Colorado.
Seasonal ice is of course expected to some extent to change, the oldest ice only erodes due to serious climate changes. The older the ice the stronger and more resilient it is, it is simply much less likely to melt than the less established seasonal ice formations. Over the last few years the proportion of arctic ice which can be classed as ‘old’ has dropped significantly. In 1984 it was estimated that 20% of arctic ice was over 4 years old, now that figure has fallen to something of the order or 3% – a worrying statistic.
There are numerous other studies, reports and research which confirm these results and the overall trend. If the temperatures continue to rise, then these figures will continue to follow the same trend. There is unlikely to be much persistent ice left in the arctic in a few years, plus continual falls in seasonal ice.
There are more reports on the BBC climate page, with links to reliable sources of information. For those unable to access these sources because of current location – this works for me – BBC iPlayer Ireland.