The perennial sea ice cover in the Arctic is shown to be declining at -9% per decade using satellite data from 1978 to 2000. A sustained decline at this rate would mean the disappearance of the multiyear ice cover during this century and drastic changes in the Arctic climate system. An apparent increase in the fraction of second year ice in the 1990s is also inferred suggesting an overall thinning of the ice cover. Surface ice temperatures derived from satellite data are negatively correlated with perennial ice area and are shown to be increasing at the rate of 1.2 K per decade. The latter implies longer melt periods and therefore decreasing ice volume in the more recent years.
Geophysical Research Letters
- Pub Date:
- October 2002
- Oceanography: General: Arctic and Antarctic oceanography;
- Oceanography: General: Climate and interannual variability (3309);
- Global Change: Oceans (4203);
- Global Change: Remote sensing