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Record Amount of Arctic Sea Ice Melted in June

The Arctic melt season is well underway, and sea ice extent — a key indicator of global warming — declined rapidly during June, setting a record for the largest June sea ice loss in the satellite era. Sea ice extent is currently running just below the level seen at the same time in 2007, the year that set the record for the lowest sea ice minimum in the satellite era.

While the current rate of sea ice decline does not necessarily indicate that another record low will be set this year — weather conditions and other factors could slow the melt before the September sea ice minimum — so far the 2012 melt season has continued the trend of accelerated sea ice loss in the Far North.

Arctic sea ice extent as of July 12, 2012, along with daily ice extent data for the 2007 record melt season. The gray area around the average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. Click on image for a larger version. Credit: NSIDC.

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colo., large amounts of sea ice loss were observed during June in the Beaufort, Bering, and Kara Seas as well as Baffin and Hudson Bay. The only area with above average sea ice at the end of June was the eastern Greenland coast, the NSIDC stated.

During June, the Arctic lost a record total of about 1.1 million square miles of ice — an area about as large as the combined land area of Alaska, California, Florida, and Texas. At the end of the month, Arctic sea ice extent was 456,000 square miles below the 1979-to-2000 average. The past three years have seen the lowest June ice extents on record, and this year, sea ice loss is running about three weeks ahead of schedule. The ice extent recorded for June 30 would normally be expected on July 21, based on the 1979-2000 average, the NSIDC said.

Warmer-than-average air temperatures and a lack of snow cover helped speed the melt, according to the NSIDC. In its July 5 analysis, the NSIDC reported that a record low Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent was set for the month of June.

Northern Hemisphere June snow cover anomalies, showing the record low in 2012. Credit: NSIDC.

"This rapid and early retreat of snow cover exposes large, darker underlying surfaces to the sun early in the season,” the NSIDC reported, “fostering higher air temperatures and warmer soils.”

In general, the Arctic has been warming at a rate about twice that of lower latitudes, a trend that is expected to continue due to feedbacks in the Arctic climate system. For example, when sea ice melts, the darker ocean surface is exposed to incoming solar radiation. This warms the water and the air much more than if the brighter sea ice had remained.

Recent research has demonstrated that rapid Arctic climate change is altering the flow of weather systems across the Northern Hemisphere, raising the possibility of far-reaching consequences well south of the Arctic Circle. Increased summer sea ice loss is also helping to open the Arctic to oil and natural gas drilling, as well as increased shipping activities, which could cause further changes to the Arctic environment.

Comments

By Roy Niemann (Philadelphia, PA)
on July 13th, 2012

Hey fear monger,
  Why not report on the Southern Hemisphere as well. Are we clamoring for research $$$$ here? Nah, nevermind. I just saw where your advertising dollars are coming from below and now it all makes sense.

  How ‘bout reporting on the climate back between 800-1200 A.D. ? Why is Greenland called Greenland? How ‘bout reporting on climate change 2000 years ago around the time of Christ? Nah, makes no sense for your agenda.

You people are unbelievable.

Reply to this comment

By Dane Wigington (Bella Vista Ca 96008)
on July 15th, 2012

Excellent article and very alarming for anyone that is awake. An issue that is even more alarming which is virtually being ignored is the massive global geoengineering programs. The spraying of our atmosphere with toxic metals and chemicals is decimating the biosphere from top to bottom. Though they use climate change (a very real issue) as their excuse, there is no excuse for what is being done in our skies. For any that doubt, investigate geoengineering or check the “geoengineeringwatch.org” site

Reply to this comment

By Fred (ox1 7re)
on July 16th, 2012

@roy nieman

Same reason New York is called New York instead of New Amsterdam, effing real estate agents trying to sell stuff to the punters in London.

While you are on your self-righteous kick, why don’t you do some research about Greenland? It would require some reading from sites with big words but they also have graphs (pictures) so it might be ok.

Reply to this comment

By Jason (New York)
on July 16th, 2012

Roy Niemann (Philadelphia, PA), why don’t you write your own investigative article answering your own questions? If your research is done correctly, half-way through the article you’ll find yourself lying just to prove your point.

Anyway, great article, Andrew Freedman!

Reply to this comment

By trendsworld (india)
on February 8th, 2013

Arctic Ice is being melted at a rapid speed for more information

http://www.trendsfair.com/arct…

The researches in the Norwegian found that the Arctic Ice is becoming
thinner day by day . Because of this reason, a satellite is appointed
to monitor the condition in the arctic region which gave its annual
report saying that the floating ice…

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