Arctic Sea Ice Has Record-Small Footprint
Arctic sea ice has never looked so thin. In the past decade, melting has sped up, shrinking the area where ice floats above the Arctic Ocean to fractions of its previous size and leaving chunks of frozen seawater uncomfortably slender. Recent research confirmed that the extent of Arctic sea ice in September 2012 was the smallest on record.
Thick slabs of sea ice built up over time – called multiyear ice – were once a more common sight. Only decades ago, it covered up to 60 percent of the Arctic, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), in Boulder, Co. Now, due to a warming climate, much of that multiyear ice has thawed, leaving about 30 percent of the Arctic Ocean shielded by this old ice at the end of this past summer.
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