A new study suggests that the 2007 record for the lowest volume of Arctic sea ice in the summertime was broken last year.
Using observations of winds, ocean and air temperatures, researchers from the Polar Science Center of the University of Washington created a model that predicts ice thickness across the Arctic Ocean, explains The Telegraph.
According to the research team, led by Axel Schweiger, “ice volume is now plunging faster than it did at the same time last year when the record was set,” reports Zee News. Their results will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research, Oceans.
The research model was checked against real observations of ice thickness in the Arctic, but is still only a prediction. “The approach has some detractors because it is [focused on] modelling rather than direct observations of thickness, and therefore contains some uncertainty,” wrote The Telegraph.
The records for the amount of sea ice are based on a volume calculated from area and thickness of the ice. Determining the sea ice's thickness requires either numerous observations or modeling, but measuring ice area is much easier.
Using satellites, scientists have found that the extent, or area, of sea ice has decreased “consistently and significantly” every summer over the past 30 years, writes The Independent.
According to the news source, Arctic sea ice normally goes through periods of melting and re-freezing between the summer and winter months. But recent temperature increases have accelerated melting and decreased reforming of the sea ice.
Speaking in Sydney, Australia recently, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said "we are running out of time" to address climate change and protect low-lying areas in the South Pacific that are threatened by rising sea levels.
Another study recently found that Arctic sea ice is likely to stop melting or even expand in the coming decades before it ultimately disappears.
Recently released photos show the largest-known calving in Greenland history, as a 100 square mile chunk broke off a glacier last summer.