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Scientists anticipate shrinkage in arctic sea ice

US: Sea ice physicists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), are anticipating further shrink in the sea ice cover from the record low in 2012. The scientists are making the projection based on current satellite data about the thickness of the ice cover.

The data show that the arctic sea ice was already extraordinarily thin in the summer of 2015. Comparably little new ice formed during the past winter. Today Dr Marcel Nicolaus, expert on sea ice, has presented these findings at a press conference during the annual General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna.

"In many regions of the Arctic, new ice only formed very slowly due to the particularly warm winter. If we compare the ice thickness map of the previous winter with that of 2012, we can see that the current ice conditions are similar to those of the spring of 2012 — in some places, the ice is even thinner," Dr Marcel Nicolaus, sea ice physicist at AWI, said today at a press conference during the EGU General Assembly in Vienna.

Foundations are laid during the preceding winter, however. This spring, they are as disheartening as they were in the negative record year of 2012. Back then, the sea ice surface of the Artic shrunk to a record low of 3.4 million square kilometres.

Together with his AWI colleague Dr Stefan Hendricks, they evaluated the sea ice thickness measurements taken over the past five winters by the CyroSat-2 satellite for their sea ice projection.

"According to our buoy data from the spring, the warm winter air was not sufficient to melt the layer of snow covering the sea ice, let alone the ice itself," Marcel Nicolaus explains. During the past winter, the growth of the arctic sea ice was significantly slower than the scientists had expected.

Source: ScienceDaily