The sharp drop in Arctic sea ice area has been matched by a harder-to-see — but equally sharp — drop in sea ice thickness. The combined result has been a collapse in total sea ice volume.
Many experts now say that if recent volume trends continue we will see virtually ice-free conditions sometime in the next ten years. And that may well usher in a permanent change toward extreme, prolonged weather events “Such As Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells And Heat Waves.”
It will also accelerate global warming in the region, which in turn will likely accelerate both the disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet and the release of the vast amounts of carbon currently locked in the permafrost.
The European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 probe confirms what the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) at the Polar Science Center has been saying for years: Arctic sea ice volume has been collapsing faster than sea ice area (or extent) because the ice has been getting thinner and thinner.
In fact, the latest satellite CryoSat-2 data shows the rate of loss of Arctic sea ice is “50% higher than most scenarios outlined by polar scientists and suggests that global warming, triggered by rising ...