News / Science & Technology

Arctic Sea-Ice Volume Continues to Decline

Sea ice floats within Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, undated handout photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Sea ice floats within Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, undated handout photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Related Articles

Experts Sure Global Warming Manmade, But Predictions Elusive

Report says pinpointing local impacts in coming decades is harder than anticipated

Audio Slideshow Antarctica Shows Unprecedented Ecological Change

Researchers discover increased vegetation growth rates on northwest coast of Alexander Island on the Antarctic Peninsula

Extreme Weather Linked to Climate Change

Report finds human-caused change was contributing factor to about half of the extreme events studied
VOA News
The thickness of Arctic sea ice continues to decline, according to the European Space Agency (ESA)

The conclusion is based on three consecutive years of measurements by ESA’s CryoSat satellite mission. Scientists often measure another factor, sea-ice extent, but ice thickness, the agency says, is a “more accurate” measure of the changes taking place at the top of the world.

Professor Andrew Shephers of the University of Leeds in England told an audience at the Living Planet Symposium in Edinburgh, Scotland Wednesday that CryoSat “continues to provide clear evidence of diminishing Arctic sea ice.”

“From the satellite’s measurements, we can see that some parts of the ice pack ice have thinned more rapidly than others, but there has been a decrease in the volume of winter and summer ice over the past three years”, he said. “The volume of the sea ice at the end of last winter was less than 15,000 cubic kilometers, which is lower than any other year going into summer and indicates less winter growth than usual.”

While it seems unlikely that a record minimum of sea-ice extent will be set this September, the thinner ice at the start of summer could mean that the actual volume of ice may reach a new low, according to ESA.

“Readings from CryoSat in October, when the ice starts to refreeze, will confirm this either way,” said Rachel Tilling, doctoral student at University College London, who is working with the CryoSat data.

CryoSat is also delivering important results on land ice formation. Recently, it provided evidence of a huge flood under the Antarctic ice sheet. New measurements combined with older data from NASA’s ICESat mapped a large crater that formed as the overlying ice sank to fill the gap left by lake water that drained away.

The map revealed that about six cubic kilometers of water had escaped from under the ice, probably straight into the ocean, between 2007 and 2008.

CryoSat is expected to continue providing data until 2017.

Watch an animation showing the variations in ice thickness over time:

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Honeybee Blaze Frolics from: Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
September 17, 2013 7:26 PM
Arctic sea ice shrank to a record low in 2012, and second place was in 2007. http://clmtr.lt/cb/xqh0bWP check out climate reality project dot org and learn more about CO 2 emissions and the dangers of air, land, water pollution! I just turn 53 years old and I never dreamed in my life-time I would witness such drastic global climate changes...but feel that after the nuclear accident in 1986 Chernobyl had played a role in the catastrophic side affects of nuclear meltdown!

by: drLenin from: USA
September 17, 2013 5:04 PM
If the pace of sea ice loss keeps up, the Arctic could be nearly ice-free in summer in just a few decades. http://clmtr.lt/cb/xqh0cze

by: Bruce from: Canada
September 16, 2013 2:10 PM
Antarctic Sea Ice just set an all-time record for most ice.

by: ReduceGHGs from: Oregon
September 13, 2013 11:32 AM
The biosphere is experiencing a nearly global warm up and meltdown. There's no credible doubt, we are the cause. Changing the ways we generate and use energy is the only rational option. Contact your reps in Congress. Insist they work harder to reduce global emissions. Our future generations are at risk.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More