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Measuring Summer Ice Melting

Measuring Summer Ice Melting

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, August 22, 2016/Categories: natural history, video, space science, sustainability, environment, climate change

                            Arctic Ice Cover and Melt Ponds, Summer 2016 (credit: NASA)

NASA's Operation IceBridge is measuring the rate of ice melting in the Arctic this summer.

According to the space agency:

in April the ice melt began early, exposing the surface ocean to the Sun's energy weeks ahead of schedule and by the end of May, the extent of ice cover was comparable to end-of-June averages. However, in June the weather changed becoming cloudy and slowed the sea ice loss. A persistent area of low atmospheric pressure, accompanied by clouds, winds, and lower-than-average temperatures didn’t favor melting. The ice melt picked up again during August and is now greater than average for this time of the year.

Operation Ice Bridge researchers said:

“This year is a case study in showing how important weather conditions are during the summer, especially in June and July, when you have 24 hours of sunlight and the sun is high in the sky in the Arctic. If you have the right atmospheric conditions during those two months, they can really accelerate the ice loss. If you don’t, they can slow down any melting momentum you had showing how sensitive sea ice cover is to the early-to-mid-summer atmospheric conditions.”

NASA released this video on Measuring Sea Ice Melting:

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