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What happened to Arctic sea ice in 2012?

What happened to Arctic sea ice in 2012?

Between the seasonal maximum extent that occurred on March 20, 2012 and the September 16 minimum, the Arctic Ocean lost a total of 11.83 million square kilometers (4.57 million square miles) of ice; this is by far the largest seasonal loss of sea ice in the satellite record.

Why was sea ice so low in 2012?

It’s clear that Arctic sea ice is declining over time, although there are ups and downs each year. And scientists say the melt has been driven by both global warming and other pollutants that humans have put into the atmosphere.

How much has Arctic sea ice decrease?

Sea ice in the Arctic has decreased dramatically since the late 1970s, particularly in summer and autumn. Since the satellite record began in 1978, the yearly minimum Arctic sea ice extent (which occurs in September) has decreased by about 40% [Figure 5].

Are sea ice positions reliable?

Currently, only the satellite record is considered sufficiently reliable for studying Antarctic sea ice trends. Since 1979, a collection of satellites has provided a continuous, nearly complete record of Earth’s sea ice cover.

Why is the Arctic sea ice disappearing?

Arctic sea ice decline has occurred in recent decades by sea ice in the Arctic Ocean melting more than refreezes in the winter. Greenhouse gas forcing is predominantly responsible for the decline in Arctic sea ice extent. A 2007 study found the decline to be “faster than forecasted” by model simulations.

Why is Arctic ice declining?

Which year had the highest recorded Arctic sea ice?

On March 18, 2012 Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 15.24 million square kilometers (5.88 million square miles). The maximum extent was 614,000 square kilometers (237,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average of 15.86 million square kilometers (6.12 million square miles).

What is causing the decline in Arctic sea ice levels?

The warming of the Atmosphere and the vertical heat fluxes from the Ocean are contributing to the Arctic sea ice rapid decline. A disappearance of Arctic sea ice in summer is predictable within 15 years.

How can a loss of sea ice cause climate change?

Changes in the amount of sea ice can disrupt normal ocean circulation, thereby leading to changes in global climate. Even a small increase in temperature can lead to greater warming over time, making the polar regions the most sensitive areas to climate change on Earth.

How much is the Arctic sea ice declining?

September Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 12.8 percent per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average. This graph shows the average monthly Arctic sea ice extent each September since 1979, derived from satellite observations.

What was the minimum sea ice extent in 2012?

In 2012, summer minimum sea ice extent was recorded at 3.41 million square kilometers: the lowest of the satellite era.

What was the minimum sea ice extent in 1984?

According to NSIDC, the average minimum extent for 1979–2000 was 6.70 million square kilometers (2.59 million square miles). The 1984 minimum was roughly that amount, so a comparison between 2012 and 1984 gives an idea of how much conditions this year strayed from the long-term average. The minimum ice extent in 2012 was about half the average.

Is the sea ice cap melting year after year?

But scientists don’t expect a consistent year after year loss; annual variations in air and ocean temperatures mean that the size of the sea ice cap will fluctuate year to year. But will it melt away one of these summers? You can also find this graphic on NASA’s Climate 365 Tumblr page.