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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

Artic Ice cover at all-time low.

Coming on the back of NOAA news recently of 2015 being the hottest year on record and January and February 2016 being consecutively the hottest months on record so far it is not surprising to see that scientists from the International Arctic Research Centre have reported sea ice levels are at an all-time low.

Apparently sea ice cover on 24 March 2016 was the lowest winter maximum since records began in 1979. The low beating a record set only last year on 25 February 2015. For the last nine years in a row every year since summer 2007 has had less ice cover. The scientists now believe the Arctic is locked onto a course of continually shrinking sea ice.

A number of causes are muted, such as record high temperatures and carry-over effects of earlier ice loss. Also, the El Niño weather system produced more warming, and the Arctic saw influxes of exceptionally warm water from the Pacific as well as the Atlantic side.

It is felt that the Arctic would never return to its previous frozen state, even if there are small gains in ice cover in a single year. Further these scientists now expect more than ever that the Arctic will be entirely ice-free in the summer months within 20 or 25 years.

The Polar Regions are the often referred to as the "refrigerator for the Earth," and help keep the rest of the planet colder. So if the Artic is warming then this has serious consequences for the rest of the world.


You Just Can’t win.
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