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article imageArctic sea ice to hit record low

By Nancy Houser     Aug 21, 2012 in Environment
The Arctic sea ice looks as if it will be hitting a record low by the end of August, according to satellite data. Reports on August 13, 2012, show that the ice extent was 186,000 square miles below the 2007 data.
Reporter Mark Kinver, environment writer of BBC News, wrote that the Arctic Sea ice is tracking below the 2007 record low. Continuing to melt until the end of September, scientists at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center state that there will be a new daily record by the end of August.
The centre's lead scientist, Ted Scambos, says, "Chances are it will cross the previous record while we are still in ice retreat." According to the NSIDC organization, the term sea ice extent is the measured data that contains sea ice. Anything that contains under 15% marks the ice edge, according to the scientists.
Arctic sea scientists monitor the ice during the crucial summer melting season in order to prepare data for comparisons of previous years. Updates are listed online during the first week of the month, or more often if conditions warrant.
ESA's Cryosat, a radar spacecraft
According to NSIDC, since last June the average rate of ice loss has been extremely rapid, melting daily over 100,000 sq km. However, the rate of loss doubled recently in August due to a major storm.
The changes in thickness and shapes of the Arctic polar ice is monitored by Cryosat, a radar spacecraft that was launched in 2010. Without it, the projections of the Arctic changes would be impossible to monitor.
Prof Laxon added that this year's projected record minimum could result in a change in projections of when the Arctic would be sea ice-free during summer months. "The previous [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report (published in 2007) stated that the likely date for an ice-free Arctic in the summer - and definitions for this vary a bit - was 2100. When we had the 2007 minimum, that date was brought forward to 2030-2040."
"The fact that we look set to get another record ice minimum in such a short space of time means that the modellers may once again need to go and look at what their projections are telling them."
ESA and NASA join forces to monitor Arctic Sea melt
The purpose of ESA and NASA to join forces is to record sea-ice thickness and conditions of the ice. "Perfectly coordinated flight paths
In orbit for two years, CryoSat carries the first radar altimeter of its kind to monitor changes in the thickness of ice." This is being accomplished by the tracing of ESA's CrySat satellite orbiting above the area through a range of sensors installed on the aircraft.
"These airborne instruments included simple cameras to get a visual record of the sea ice, laser scanners to clearly map the height of the ice, an ice-thickness sensor called EM-Bird along with ESA’s sophisticated radar altimeter called ASIRAS and NASA’s snow and Ku-band radars, which mimic CryoSat’s measurements but at a higher resolution."
Study shows that Arctic warming is altering weather patterns
Study shows that Arctic warming is altering weather patterns
More about Arctic sea, Arctic sea ice, hit record low, ice sea melt, Esa
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