Over the last ten years, the arctic sea ice has seen a decline. This can be largely attributed to the increased effects of global warming. Normally, during winter, the arctic ice increases in width and thickness. During the summer, the ice melts thereby reducing in size.
However, according to the satellite records, this year the warmest summer was experienced. This resulted in a mass decline in the Arctic ice. According to the visual records by NASA Goddard’s Scientific Studio, this year, the Arctic experienced the melting of some of its oldest and thickest ice.
The Build up to November
The month of September saw a quick increase in the mass of ice. This continued up to mid-October. However, the freeze-up in early October was slow and only saw the ice mass of approximately 378,000 square kilometers. The slow freeze-up is attributed to the above average sea surface temperatures recorded this period.
Another factor that played a significant role in the decline of the ice is the atmospheric temperatures above the Arctic Ocean. This years’ temperature above the Arctic was 14 degrees Celsius more than the average recovered from 1981-2010. The difference in the air, temperatures led to unusual atmospheric circulation. These two environmental factors led to the extension of the warm temperature from October into November.
This November, summer was over and above the normal temperatures to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. This resulted into the normal melting of ice. However, the mass of ice that melted was also more than the average that is usually recorded in other years. This was experienced around mid-November. After the period was over, cooler air that had been displaced by the warm temperatures started returning to the Arctic.
It was expected that the ice would increase quickly due to the low temperatures. However, according to Satellite images on November 19, the Arctic ice mass spent a number of days shrinking before starting to increase in width and thickness.
It is reported that from the beginning of the month of November, the extent of the Arctic sea was 7.07 million square miles which were the lowest data ever recorded for that time of the year. By the end of the month, about 3.33 million square miles of the ice mass have melted. This is about 400,000 square miles more than any ice wasting ever recorded in history for that period of the year.
This greater decline in the ice mass that melted means that winter might not be able to freeze up as much ice so as to cover up the areas that wasted away. Julienne Stroeve, a researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center predicted that with this decline in the wasting of the ice, there might not be any ice in the Arctic region by mid-century.
Global warming has a major impact on the climate of the world. The wasting of the Arctic ice is just one of the recorded major changes in the world climate. Therefore, global leaders should be more proactive in implementing policies to safeguard posterity from the adverse effects of global warming.