CliSAP successfully finished in 2018. Climate research continues in the Cluster of Excellence "CLICCS".

New negative record in the Arctic – what does the sea ice minimum mean for our climate?

21.09.2012

This year Arctic sea ice has diminished more than ever since the beginning of reliable satellite measurements in the year 1973 – to an area of 3.37 million square kilometres. According to other estimations this is even the lowest value in approximately 1500 years. The negative record forecast a few weeks ago will thereby be significantly undercut again before the ice accumulates once more at the end of the Arctic summer as it does every year.

With that ice cover has been reduced by more than half in the past three decades. At the same time the thickness of the ice layer is declining. Recent studies consistently show that the extreme ice retreat in all its manifestations can only be explained by anthropogenic global warming.

 

"The Arctic sea ice is an early warning system and is considered to be a critical element in the earth system: when there is less bright ice to reflect sunlight into space and more dark ocean surface area to absorb heat, global warming is accelerated", said Peter Lemke from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven. The Arctic plays a central role in the global climate system, "and even if it seems to be so far away – the changes in the far North will also make themselves felt in Germany." Climate scientists expect an even greater retreat of sea ice in future, so that in a few decades the Arctic Ocean could be largely free of ice during the summer.

 

Furter Information in the press release.