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Arctic Sea Ice Extent Rapidly Decreasing

Posted by feww on August 21, 2012

Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent drops below 4.5 million km²: FIRE-EARTH

FIRE-EARTH estimates the Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent dropped below 4.5 million km² on August 19, 2012.

A week earlier (August 13, 2012), the Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was 5.09 million square kilometers (1.97 million square miles), which was 2.69 million km² below the 1979 to 2000 average extent for the date, and 483,000 km² below the previous record low set in 2007, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

FEWW model shows the Arctic sea ice extent could fall below 3.8 million km² during the 2012 melt season with a probability of 0.7 [P≥65%]

Arctic ice cover shrank to a new record low of 4.28 km² in 2007, about 23 percent below the previous record set in 2005 and almost 40 percent lower than the 1979 – 2000 average.


Arctic Ice Cover Maps for August 13 and 19, 2012. Source: NSIDC


Arctic Sea Ice Extent: Area of ocean with at least 15% sea ice. Source: NSIDC


The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of August 13, 2012, along with daily ice extent data for the previous five years. 2012 is shown in blue, 2011 in orange, 2010 in pink, 2009 in navy, 2008 in purple, and 2007 in green. The gray area around the average line shows the two standard deviation range of the data. Source: NSIDC

“The average pace of ice loss since late June has been rapid at just over 100,000 square kilometers (38,000 square miles) per day. However, this pace nearly doubled for a few days in early August during a major Arctic cyclonic storm,” said NSIDC.

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