Polar ice melting rapidly
BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The rapid disintegration of sea ice in the Arctic region could set a record this year, U.S. researchers say.
The University of Colorado at Boulder said there is a 92 percent chance the 2007 September minimum extent of sea ice across the Arctic region will set an all-time record low. Researchers had previously said the chance of setting a record was only 33 percent.
The forecast was changed after the rapid disintegration of ice in July, researcher Sheldon Drobot of the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics said Friday in a release.
"During the first week in July, the Arctic sea ice started to disappear at rates we had never seen before," said Drobot.
The record low September minimum for sea ice, set in 2005, is 2.15 million square miles. For 2007, the highest probability minimum extent is 1.96 million square miles.
The area of an ocean covered by at least 15 percent of ice has been declining since concerted satellite measuring efforts began in the late 1970s, the report said.
Arctic ice melt largest on record
BOULDER, Colo., Sept. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists said the amount of sea ice that melted in the Arctic this summer has shattered all previous records.
The University of Colorado at Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center said Arctic sea ice on Sept. 16 stood at 1.59 million square miles, about 1 million square miles less than the long-term minimum average from 1979 to 2000. Scientists compared the loss to an area about the size of Alaska and Texas combined.
The sea ice is at its lowest level since satellite record-keeping began nearly 30 years ago, the university said Friday in a release.
Scientists blame the declining Arctic sea ice on rising concentrations of greenhouse gases that have increased temperatures from 2 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit across the arctic and strong natural variability in Arctic sea ice, the researchers said in a release.
Arctic sea ice melts each summer, reaching its minimum extent in September and its is usually at maximum area in March.
The researchers used satellite data from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as data from Canadian satellites and weather observatories for the study.
Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Shatters All-time Record Low, Report Scientists