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Arctic sea – VANISHING?

Arctic sea could soon become history, warn scientists. UK scientists combine results from Cryosat, which uses a radar to measure ice thickness, with data from Nasa’s IceSat, which uses lasers.Arctic ice melting

What scientists say?
Sea ice in the Arctic is disappearing at a far greater rate than previously expected, according to data from the first purpose-built satellite launched to study the thickness of the Earth’s polar caps, the ‘Guardian’ reported.

What is the rate of loss?
The rate of loss is 50% higher than most scenarios outlined by polar scientists.

What is happening?
The area covered by summer sea ice in the Arctic has been dwindling rapidly. This ice has been thinning dramatically at the same time.

What is the cause?
Global warming, triggered by rising greenhouse gas emissions is one of the main causes of this phenomenon.

Is it a cause for worry?
Yes, In a few years the Arctic ocean could be free of ice in summer, triggering a rush to exploit its fish stocks, oil, minerals, and sea routes.

What is the future?
“Very soon we may experience the iconic moment when, one day satellite images and see no sea ice coverage in the Arctic, just open water” said Seymour Laxon, of the Centre for Polar Observations and Modelling at University College London(UCL) , where Cryosat-2 data is being analyzed.

And the consequences…
– The consequences could be profound. Without the cap’s white brilliance to reflect sunlight back into space, the region will heat up even more that at present. As a result, ocean temperatures will rise and methane deposits on the ocean floor could melt, evaporate and bubble into the atmosphere.Sinking Iceberg

– Scientists have recently reported evidence that methane plumes are now appearing in many areas. Methane is a particularly powerful greenhouse gas and rising levels of it in the atmosphere are only likely to accelerate global warming. And with the disappearance of sea ice around the shores of Greenland, its glaciers could melt faster and raise sea levels even more rapidly than at present.

– It is also possible that the jet stream in the upper atmosphere could become more unstable. That could mean increasing volatility in weather in lower latitude, claim Prof Chris Rapley, UCL.

In, WINTER 2004:
The volume of sea ice in the central Arctic was approximately 17,000 cubic kilometers. In winter 2012 it was 14,000 according to CryoSat.

In, SUMMER 2004: There was about 13,000 cubic kilometers of sea ice in the Arctic. In 2012, there was 7,000 cubic kilometers, almost half the figure eight years ago.Changes in arctic..


  • The Himalayan glaciers that hold the planet’s largest body of ice outside the polar caps and feed many of the world’s great rivers are dwindling.
  • The world’s glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets have shed around 4,200 cubic kilometers (1,007 cubic miles) from 2003 to 2012, experts suggests which is enough to rise the sea levels by 12mm over that period.Melting Himalayas
  • But according to a research in 2012 at France’s University of Grenoble, the Karakoram glaciers have gained around 0.11 to 0.22 meters (0.36 feet to 0.72 feet) per year between 1998 and 2008.
  • Himalayan glaciers lose 4bn tons of ice annually.


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This entry was posted on July 9, 2013 by in Nature.
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