Whither Arctic sea ice? A clear signal of decline regionally, seasonally and extending beyond the satellite record
The Arctic sea ice has been pointed to as one of the first and clearest indicators of climate change. Satellite passive microwave observations from 1979 through 2005 now indicate a significant -8.4 ±1.5% decade-1 trend (99% confidence level) in September sea-ice extent, a larger trend than earlier estimates due to acceleration of the decline over the past 41 years. There are differences in regional trends, with some regions more stable than others; not all regional trends are significant. The largest trends tend to occur in months where melt is at or near its peak for a given region. A longer time series of September extents since 1953 was adjusted to correct biases and extended through 2005. The trend from the longer time series is -7.7±0.6% decade-1 (99%), slightly less than from the satellite-derived data that begin in 1979, which is expected given the recent acceleration in the decline.