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article imageArctic sea ice melting, now at record low

By Tim Sandle     Aug 28, 2012 in Environment
According to the latest information supplied by NASA, the Arctic has lost more sea ice this year than at any time since satellite records began in 1979.
Last week Digital Journal reported on the latest prediction of ice loss in the Artic. The worst prediction has been confirmed. The information collected by NASA shows sea ice currently covers 1.58 million square miles. This is less than the previous low recorded in 2007, where ice covered 1.61 million square miles.
The measurements were taken from a combination of satellite images (such as those produced from the specialist climate spacecraft Cryosat, operated by the European Space Agency) and from more direct measurements taken by submarines.
In addition, the Earth Observatory says data also shows the level of sea ice, as a seasonal low, has taken place earlier than usual. Sea ice normally reaches its low point in September. Scientists also say the thickness of the ice has decreased.
Sea ice levels increase during the winter and decrease when temperatures climb in the summer. Over the past 30 years the amount of ice recorded in the summer has decreased by around 13 percent every 10 years.
According to the BBC, Arctic sea ice helps to keep polar regions cool which helps to control the global climate system. The white surface of the ice reflects about 80 percent of sunlight back into the atmosphere. When the sea ice melts it exposes more of the ocean surface resulting in 90 percent of the sunlight being absorbed which warms the Arctic ocean.
NASA concluded Arctic ice sheets are fundamentally changing. According to a research paper from Reading University, this has been due to human activity such as pollution and clearing of forests.
The research team was led by Joey Comiso, a senior research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
More about Artic, Ice, Global warming, Climate change
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