The continuously decreasing sea ice levels of the Arctic could be a direct result of climate change.
With climate change controversy constantly in and out of the news, it is common knowledge that the arctic is in trouble. However, sea ice levels are now at their lowest ever in recorded history, according to new reports. Based on reconstructions made by meteorologists, arctic sea ice levels have plummeted, meaning that the earth currently has the least amount of sea ice in millennia.
Since monitoring of sea ice levels began with the use of satellites in the 1970s, the current sea ice that is floating on the earth’s oceans is the smallest amount that has ever been recorded. The National Snow and Ice Data Centre measurements have demonstrated that the global sea ice levels are further decreasing this year. This follows similar dubious records in 2016, where the sea ice levels set a record low during every day in December. In addition to this, monthly analysis showed that a total of seven months of 2016 showed record lows in sea ice levels. The increasingly low levels of Arctic sea ice are thought to be caused by a number of different factors, including climate change and unusual weather events, which could also be linked back to a direct impact of climate change.
Due to current conditions in the Arctic, the sea ice should be increasing as it is currently the winter season. However, the unexpected warm air invasions, which were recorded as 3 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 1981 to 2010 average over the central Arctic Ocean, have raised the overall temperatures, in addition to the constant effects of climate change.
Meteorologist Eric Holthaus said on Twitter that we have “the least area of sea ice on our planet that we’ve ever measured – probably the lowest in millennia”. He also referenced a PAGES (Past Global Changes) article written by two scientists who reconstructed past sea ice extent for evidence of the changes that are currently occurring. It is also largely possible that the sea ice levels could continue rising in the very near future, although they could then fall back down to levels that are even lower than the all time lows that the area is currently experiencing. Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist, likened the Arctic sea ice decline to a “ball bouncing down a bumpy hill”, explaining that the sea ice will continue to decline, before the possibility of temporarily rising up again, only to then continue its descent to even lower levels than it was initially at.
These Arctic sea levels are slightly different to the ones that are currently being experienced in the Antarctic. In this very different area, scientists claim that these low levels of seasonal sea ice could possibly have resulted from natural variability, which means that the changes could be caused by natural factors that are causing a significant change in the climate. These changes could be coming from either within or outside the earth. However, despite the natural explanation for the changes in sea ice levels in Antarctica, scientists have found that the sea ice area has been plunging a lot more swiftly than the predicted figures for the summer seasons.
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