Arctic Sea Ice Coverage Already Well Under Levels For Same June Dates In Record-Low 2007
SUMMIT COUNTY — Arctic sea ice extent, which hovered near average in May, has declined rapidly in the past few weeks to dip well below average and below the level it was this time of year in 2007, when it reached a record low in September.
“Basically, right now, we’re quite a ways below 2007, and neck and neck with 2010, which was the lowest for this time of year … we’re very near record low levels for this time of year,” said Dr. Walt Meier, a sea ice expert with the Boulder-based National Snow and Ice Data Center.
The steady decline of Arctic sea ice extent is considered to be one of the key symptoms of global warming, with serious implications for climate, weather, ocean currents and sea level rise. Several recent studies suggest that the warming in the Arctic is directly affecting seasonal weather patterns by changing air pressure gradients that drive the speed and shape of the jet stream. And just last month, atmospheric scientists reported monthly average carbon dioxide levels at remote Arctic sensing stations hovered above 400 parts per million for the first time on record.
“The setup looks a lot like it did in 2007 for the moment, but it’s still pretty early. It’s hard to tell if it’s going to follow 2007 but there’s certainly the potential to have a very low year,” Meier said.