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Arctic coastal sea ice thinning twice as fast than thought

On thin ice

Prof. Julienne Stroeve at CPOM added, “There are a number of uncertainties in measuring sea-ice thickness, but we believe our new calculations are a major step forward in terms of more accurately interpreting the data we have from satellites.”

“We hope this work can be used to better assess the performance of climate models that forecast the effects of long-term climate change in the Arctic – a region that is warming at three times the global rate, and whose millions of square kilometres of ice are essential for keeping the planet cool.”

Michel Tsamados, also a researcher at CPOM, explained, “As part of the ESA Polar Science Cluster, we are actively developing complementary methods based on multi-frequency multi-satellite data fusion to further increase our understanding of the snow on sea-ice cover and its role in the climate and remote sensing of the polar regions.”

As well as the consequences for feedback mechanisms in the way Earth’s climate works, thinning sea ice in the coastal Arctic seas has implications for human activity in the region, both in terms of shipping along the Northern Sea Route, as well as the extraction of resources from the sea floor such as oil, gas and minerals. It is also a concern for indigenous communities as it leaves settlements on the coast increasingly exposed to wave action from the emerging ocean.

 

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