Arctic Sea Ice Trends

The National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado is an excellent resource for students to grapple with dynamic climate datasets. The most recent analysis of sea ice trends in the Arctic by the NSIDC is rather foreboding:

  1. In May, sea ice extent fell near the level recorded in 2006, the lowest in the satellite record for the end of May. It is still too soon, however, to determine if Arctic sea ice extent will reach another record low this summer. The rate of loss (26,000 square miles per day) is the highest for the month of May in the history of satellite records;
  2. Temperatures in May were 2-5C above average across much of the Arctic;
  3. Sea ice thickness and volume also appear to have declined along with ice extent, but there are no continuous Arctic-wide measurements of sea ice volume.
    • May 2010 volume was 42% below the 1979 volume, and 32% below the 1979 to 2009 May average


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