The level of ice coverage in the Arctic Ocean continued its below-average trend this year as the ice declined to its annual minimum last Wednesday, according to the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
“Arctic sea ice coverage in 2014 is the sixth lowest recorded since 1978,” said Walter Meier, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The summer started off relatively cool, and lacked the big storms or persistent winds that can break up ice and increase melting. Even with a relatively cool year, the ice is so much thinner than it used to be. It is more susceptible to melting.”
The summer sea ice has actually covered more of the Arctic Ocean in the last two years than in the record low summer of 2012, however, this doesn’t indicate that the Arctic is returning to its average conditions, according to Mr. Meier. This minimum extent this year is still in line with the current downward trend in which the Arctic Ocean loses around 13% of its ice every decade.
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