Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Satellites Continue To See Decline In Arctic Sea Ice In 2005

Date:
September 30, 2005
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
Researchers from NASA, the National Snow and Ice Data Center and others using satellite data have detected a significant loss in Arctic sea ice this year. On Sept. 21, 2005, sea ice extent dropped to 2.05 million sq. miles, the lowest extent yet recorded in the satellite record. Incorporating the 2005 minimum using satellite data going back to 1978, with a projection for ice growth in the last few days of this September, brings the estimated decline in Arctic sea ice to 8.5 percent per decade over the 27 year satellite record.

Arctic sea ice typically reaches its minimum in September, at the end of the summer melt season, and then recover over the winter. The 2004-2005 winter-season showed a smaller recovery of sea ice extent than any previous winter in the satellite record, and the earliest onset of melt throughout the Arctic. This visualization shows seasonal fluctuations in Arctic sea ice derived from the new high resolution AMSR-E instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite.
Credit: NASA

Researchers from NASA, the National Snow and Ice Data Centerand others using satellite data have detected a significant loss inArctic sea ice this year.

On Sept. 21, 2005, sea ice extentdropped to 2.05 million sq. miles, the lowest extent yet recorded inthe satellite record. Incorporating the 2005 minimum using satellitedata going back to 1978, with a projection for ice growth in the lastfew days of this September, brings the estimated decline in Arctic seaice to 8.5 percent per decade over the 27 year satellite record.

Scientistsinvolved in this research are from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center,Greenbelt, Md., NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., theNational Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado,Boulder, and the University of Washington, Seattle.

Satelliteshave made continual observations of Arctic sea ice extent since 1978,recording a general decline throughout that period. Since 2002,satellite records have revealed early onsets of springtime melting inthe areas north of Alaska and Siberia. In addition, the 2004-2005winter season showed a smaller recovery of sea ice extent than anyprevious winter in the satellite record and the earliest onset of meltthroughout the Arctic.

Arctic sea ice typically reaches itsminimum in September, at the end of the summer melt season. The lastfour Septembers (2002-2005) have seen sea ice extents 20 percent belowthe mean September sea ice extent for 1979-2000.

Perennial icecover is ice that survives the summer melt, consisting mainly of thickmultiyear ice floes that are the mainstay of the Arctic sea ice cover."Since 1979, by using passive microwave satellite data, we've seen thatthe area of Arctic perennial sea ice cover has been declining at 9.8percent per decade," said Joey Comiso, senior scientist at Goddard.

Forthe perennial ice to recover, sustained cooling is needed, especiallyduring the summer period. This has not been the case over the past 20years, as the satellite data show a warming trend in the Arctic, and itis not expected to be the case in the future, as climate models projectcontinued Arctic warming. If ice were to grow back in these areas, thenew ice would likely be thinner and more susceptible to future meltthan the thick perennial ice that it replaces.

Scientists areworking to understand the extent to which these decreases in sea iceare due to naturally occurring climate variability or longer-term humaninfluenced climate changes.

Scientists believe that the ArcticOscillation, a major atmospheric circulation pattern that can push seaice out of the Arctic, may have contributed to the reduction of sea icein the mid-1990s by making the sea ice more vulnerable to summertimemelt.

Sea ice decline could also affect future temperatures inthe region. Ice reflects much of the sun's radiation back into space.As sea ice melts, more exposed ocean water reduces the amount of energyreflected away from the Earth. "Feedbacks in the system are starting totake hold," says the National Snow and Ice Data Center's lead scientistTed Scambos.

Claire Parkinson, senior scientist at Goddard,cautions against thinking that Arctic sea ice is gone for good,especially with such limited data. "The reduced sea ice coverage willlead to more wintertime heat loss from the ocean to the atmosphere andperhaps therefore to colder water temperatures and further ice growth,"said Parkinson.

There are many factors beyond warmer temperaturesthat drive changes in the Arctic. A longer data record, combined withobservations from additional environmental parameters now availablefrom NASA satellites, will help scientists better understand thechanges they are now seeing.

The study used data from the DefenseMeteorological Satellite Program Special Sensor/ Microwave Imager anddata from NASA's Scanning Multi-channel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) onthe NIMBUS-7 satellite.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "Satellites Continue To See Decline In Arctic Sea Ice In 2005." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050930082116.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2005, September 30). Satellites Continue To See Decline In Arctic Sea Ice In 2005. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050930082116.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "Satellites Continue To See Decline In Arctic Sea Ice In 2005." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050930082116.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins