The Arctic ice cap recovered slightly over the past winter, despite some of the worst melting on record.
The American National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), which publishes figures twice yearly on the Arctic sea ice, suggests that the ongoing summer low and winter high ice trends are evidence that global warming continues to worsen.
The data released by the NSIDC for the winter period of 2009-2010 revealed that the ice shelf’s maximum extent was 15.25m sq km, recorded on March 31st. This figure was 650,000 sq km below average for March from 1979 to 2000, when winter measurements were taken. This represents a 2.6 percent rate of decline per decade according to the NSIDC.
NSIDC stated that there had been a small recovery in the total amount of ice aged at least two years from last season’s record low. But although the ice spread is an improvement on recent years, it remains low when compared to previous decades.
“I think it’s the sixth or seventh lowest maximum out of the previous 32 years,” said NSIDC’s research scientist Walt Meier in a report by Siku News. Meier added that this year’s summer data was likely to be similarly low.
“I would say [it's going to be] low, perhaps one of the lowest, but not approaching 2007,” claimed Meier, in reference to the year when an area of ice the size of Alaska was lost. “Given the amount of thin ice, we know we’re going to be low, it’s just a matter of how low,” he added.