Studies have proved that the Arctic sea ice is rapidly melting due to climate change. The massive girdle of ice which covered the Arctic Ocean has visibly decreased in wideness. Scientists are worried about this terrible event which is continuously fueled by global warming. NASA’s researchers have argued that another major problem has risen.
The coating of ice which has shrunk indicates that the thick ice which covered the Arctic Ocean has become thinner. Thus, the ice crest above the ocean became more fragile being exposed to the warm atmosphere. Lately, researchers have demonstrated that the old thick ice known as the perennial layer has decreased in thickness.
This portion of ice is the layer which covers the ocean and always resists during the summer season. Perennial ice or multi-year ice usually has a life span longer than nine years and represents the densest element of the sea ice. This particular layer of ice can grow to measure approximately four meters thick. Whereas, the usual layer of ice which forms during a winter season can only measure two meters in thickness.
Walt Meier, who is a sea ice researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has argued that the older ice is slowly melting, affecting the ecosystems formed there. In summer only the young layer of frost is supposed to melt. But if we confront with high global temperatures as we did this year, then probably the perennial ice started to decay too.
NASA’s scientists have analyzed a lot of captures from outer space which by comparison indicate a decrease of the sea ice surface. The images were obtained over 30 years, displaying shrinking and growing processes of the ice. In the picture, the locations represented with blue-gray are the thinnest ice spots and those spaces described with white are the perennial ice portions.
Back in September 1984, in the Arctic, there were approximately 1.86 million square kilometers covered in ice older than five years. The last calculus from September 2016 indicated that older sea ice is spread on only 110,000 square kilometers. Meier claimed that in the 1980s perennial ice was 20% of the sea ice coat. Nowadays, this only measures 3% of the total surface. NASA’s specialists have asserted that there were registered two major bursts of the loss of perennial ice.
Image source: flickr