Arctic sea ice shows ‘striking’ decline since 1960s

Date: 1/6/2000

Scientists using data acquired by US Navy submarines have reported a ‘striking’ reduction in the thickness of Arctic sea ice, as compared with 20 to 40 years ago.

The decrease in sea ice occurs all across the Arctic Ocean and corresponds to previously reported evidence that the Arctic climate is warming, the researchers say. The Scientific Ice Expeditions (SCICEX) programme, which consisted of six extended cruisers, acquired the sea ice data using nuclear submarines. This study analysed data from three autumn cruises: by USS Pargo (1993), USS Pogy (1996), and USS Archerfish (1997)

The researchers say the available data is insufficient to provide answers about the cause of the ice loss. They suggest several hypotheses about the flow of heat from the ocean itself, from the atmosphere, and from shortwave radiation. Other avenues to be explored include the amount of precipitation and snow cover in the region and ice movement.

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