Japan: The sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean has become the smallest in observation history, according to the data by the Global Change Observation Mission 1st – Water “SHIZUKU” (GCOM-W1) of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The sea ice data was measured by the microwave scanning radiometer onboard GCOM-W1. The sea ice extent on August 24 was 4.21 million square kilometers, and that fell below the smallest record of 4.25 million square kilometers marked in 2007 in satellite observation history.
According to the scientists’ observations, the sea ice extent shrunk to the second smallest in September 2011, and, after that, satellite observation images confirmed that some parts of multi-year ice (which had survived one or several summer and become thick) had flowed into the Atlantic Ocean during winter to spring. In the spring of 2012, scientists confirmed through satellite image analysis that about a half of the Arctic Ocean was broadly covered by a thin layer of one-year-old ice (which was formed in or after the last summer). Thus, it is estimated that sea ice is getting thinner due to recent temperature increase in the Arctic Ocean.