A international team of scientists have found the Arctic Ocean ice has been growing ever thinner — accompanied by changes in marine life and disturbing shifts in deep ocean currents.
A scientific expedition that spent the past two-and-half-months taking measurements across the Arctic reported this week that vast pans of ice measure only one meter thick — suggesting a 50 percent decrease in overall ice thickness since 2001.
These results were gathered by some of the 50 scientists from 10 countries aboard the research vessel Polarstern, sponsored by the German-based Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.
“The ice cover in the North Polar Sea is dwindling, the ocean and the atmosphere are becoming steadily warmer, the ocean currents are changing,” said chief scientist Dr Ursula Schauer, in a story posted on-line.
The observations surfaced amid a flurry of other climate-change news, highlighted by a Perfect Melt that shrank Arctic sea ice to the smallest extent ever reserved. As of Sept. 10, an area the size of California was free of ice cover for the first time in history, according to the lastest dispatch from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Meanwhile, U.S. climate monitors reported the Northern Hemisphere simmered through its warmest January-to-August period since the 1880s. And the Chukchi Sea village of Kivalina — one of the Alaska communities facing dangerous erosion due storm waves that build on an ocean that lacks protective ice — was evacuating some residents in advance of a big storm.