August 27, 2012.
Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks to New Low in Satellite Era
. According to scientists from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Arctic sea ice cover has melted to its lowest extent in the satellite record and may continue melting in the coming weeks. Arctic sea ice cover naturally shrinks during the summer and grows during the winter, but over the last three decades satellites have observed a 13 percent decline per decade in the minimum summertime extent of the sea ice, while the thickness of the ice has also declined. Unlike during the previous record low in 2007, which was caused by an unusually warm summer in the Arctic, temperatures this summer have not been abnormally high. The persistent loss of perennial ice cover has greatly reduced the thickness of the ice, causing it to become far more vulnerable to even average summer temperatures. According Jennifer Francis, Rutgers climate scientist and CECI affiliate
, the dramatic changes represent the scientific community’s “worst fears
” about climate change and its consequences.