The maximum Arctic sea ice extent is one of the lowest ever

The melting of the Arctic ice is increasingly dramatic

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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The maximum Arctic sea ice extent is one of the lowest ever

The melting of the Arctic ice is increasingly dramatic. The climate crisis is gradually destroying the Arctic ice, with all that it entails at a biological and environmental level. The thickness of the ice sheet is also a concern: as a recently published study shows, Arctic sea ice has changed significantly since 2007, becoming increasingly thinner.

The Arctic Ocean is warming fast, nearly four times faster than the global average. Over the last four decades, this has led to a progressive decrease in both the minimum extension in September and the maximum in March. The lowest minimum extent recorded so far dates back to September 2012, when the ice surface stopped at 44% below the 1981/2010 average; the lowest maximum extension, however, was recorded in March 2017 (-7.4% less than the 1981/2010 average).

Arctic sea ice extent for the 2023 Northern Hemisphere winter is the fifth lowest on record. This was stated by the experts of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). On March 6, the glacier probably reached its maximum extent at 5.64 million square miles.

The date of maximum extension of the glacier, 6 March, came six days earlier than the average date of the thirty years between 1981 and 2010, set at 12 March. The severe crisis situation of the Arctic glacier is clearly connected to the man-made climate crisis and has important regional implications throughout the Arctic, denounce the authors of the research project.

Increasingly warm ocean and atmospheric temperatures are driving the loss of Arctic sea ice. This ice cap partially melts during the summer until it reaches its minimum extent in September, to then regenerate during the cold season and cover most of the Arctic Ocean by March.

In addition to the one recorded on March 6, all five of the lowest maximum extensions have been recorded in the last eight years, while the ten lowest maximum extensions have been recorded in the last 17 years. In the context of global warming, from satellite observations and other studies, over the last 40 years, a marked decrease in both the surface and volume of Arctic ice has been recorded.

Summer 2012 is remembered for the minimum extension ever reached of the frozen surface. 2011 recorded very low ice surface extensions, in line with 2007, removing the possibility of a recovery of the ice surface that seemed possible from the 2008 and 2009 data.