Sea ice retreats to furthest point on record

| 28/08/2012

Pg-10-water-ap.jpg(The Independent):  The news that came yesterday should be, environmental campaigners said, a global wake-up call. The ice cap covering the top of the world is now smaller than it has been at any point since scientists started to measure it precisely from space. Satellite data released last night show that the sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean has reached a record low, retreating further than it has done since detailed records began more than 30 years ago. The US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado said that the 2007 record was broken on Sunday with two or three weeks of the melt season still remaining, suggesting that this year's sea ice will retreat substantially further than at any time in the satellite era.

The snow and ice centre said that the surface area of the Arctic Ocean covered by floating sea ice fell to 4.10 million square kilometres (1.58m square miles), which was 70,000 square kilometres below the previous record minimum of 4.17 square kilometres set in September 2007.

This means that since 1979, when satellite readings began, the six lowest sea-ice extents have all occurred in the past six years, from 2007 to 2012. The sea ice retreat was particularly rapid this August and may have been exacerbated by an intense storm over the Arctic region.

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