Arctic ice dips to record low

Arctic sea ice has reached a record low wintertime maximum extent for the second year in a row, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA.

Courtesy: Climate Central

Every winter, the Arctic Ocean’s sea ice cover reaches a peak and then declines with the onset of spring. That peak, recorded this year, was the lowest seen in 37 years of record keeping. Sea ice covered just 5.6 million square miles of the Arctic Ocean, about 5,000 square miles less than the previous record set last year, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA.

Background

  • The Arctic Ice pack is the ice cover of the Arctic Ocean and its vicinity.
  • Every winter, the Arctic Ocean’s sea ice cover reaches a peak and then declines with the onset of spring.
  • Sea ice is beneficial mainly with respect to:
  1. Energy Balance effects- Sea ice has an important effect on the heat balance of the polar oceans, since it insulates the (relatively) warm ocean from the much colder air above, thus reducing heat loss from the oceans.
  2. Hydrological effects- The sea ice cycle is also an important source of dense water which is important in climate modeling.
  • The melting of arctic ice shows us the gravity of the challenge of global warming and climate change.

News Item compiled by Namrata Keshava

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