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Arctic sea ice is shrinking to the second lowest number ever recorded, and scientists say it will worsen



By September 15, the Arctic ice sheet had shrunk to 1.44 million square miles (3.74 million square kilometers), according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. This is only 135,000 square miles (350,000 square kilometers) higher than the lowest level achieved in 2012.

“This tells us that the Arctic Ocean is moving in a trajectory to have a seasonally unfrozen Arctic Ocean, and this year is another nail in the coffin,” NSIDC Director Mark Cerese told CNN.

“The 14 lowest distances of sea ice have occurred in the last 14 years. It has never improved and there are no indications of recovery. We are in a new Arctic, something we have never seen before.”

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Arctic sea ice usually reaches its minimum level in mid-September, which allows scientists to analyze the overall health of the ice sheet.

If the Arctic continues its downward trajectory, which, according to Ceres, is likely to be, there may be no ice in the Arctic by the end of the summer.

This poses a detrimental risk to ocean ecosystems all the way from phytoplankton to the best predators such as polar bears and seals, which depend on ice to hunt for food.

“This will have a big impact on local marine and terrestrial ecosystems. With less sea ice, phytoplankton blooms increase, but for animals like polar bears, they lose their home,” Cerese said.

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“By the time we reach this seasonal state without ice, we will also see the Arctic become much more visible to all kinds of geopolitical issues such as shipping.”

Melting ice is another clear sign of global warming and is caused in part by heat waves of 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Siberia in June and massive forest fires that have ravaged parts of the western states, according to Cerese.

“It looks like 2020 will fall like the year in which the plausible denial of climate change ends. Every single event can be blamed on time, but all this along with heat waves, fires, hurricanes and tropical storms, nature he tells us something, “Cerese said.

“This is us. This is all of us. Our heat waves are getting hotter, the cold waves are not so cold. As Pogo said, we have met the enemy and they are us.”

NSIDC claims that the number of ice is still preliminary and the continuation of melting conditions may push the ice even lower.


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