After a cool summer, Arctic sea ice shrank to its second-lowest level since the human race is studying it, according to a new report. The worst part is that the phenomenon will continue due to global warming, and soon Earth could lose this sea ice and the ability to reflect radiation into space.

It is normal that the Arctic sea naturally melts in the spring and summer before regrowing during winter. But the significant 2016 meltdown has shocked the scientific community and there is little hope to regrow all the ice the Arctic sea lost.

The significant 2016 meltdown has shocked the scientific community. Photo credit: Michael D. Lemonick / Climate Central
The significant 2016 meltdown has shocked the scientific community. Photo credit: Michael D. Lemonick / Climate Central

The new report on the Arctic current status was released Friday by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA. The document said Arctic ice levels fell to their lowest levels this year on September 10, covering about 1.6 million square miles, which is 4.4 million square kilometers.

The 2016 measurements are almost the same as in 2007, and the lowest sea ice ever recorded was on September 17, 2012, when the ice surface only extended to 1.31 million square miles or 3.39 million square kilometers.

Claire Parkinson is a climate scientist, and she is the main author of the report. She stated that since 1986, there had not been records saying ice levels in the Arctic are high in any month. Unfortunately, since that time, there had been 75 records showing the ice levels are alarmingly low.

The reports said the Arctic sea melted quickly between March and May in 2016, and it slowed down this process in August and September when low atmospheric pressures and cloudy skies arrived.

Parkinson said in a statement the contrast between the two seasons was incredible because it is not only September that is losing sea ice. And the record is very clear about the fact the ice is not rebounding to where it used to be, even in the midst of winter.

NSIDC lead scientist Ted Scambos stated the lowest temperatures of the year could not reduce the amount of ice lost. He continued and said the recent evidence suggests that in the next few years, with more typical warmer conditions, there will be some very dramatic losses. Mark Serreze, also from NSIDC said he would not be surprised if the Arctic were ice-free by 2030.

Why do we need Arctic ice sea and how can we stop their melting?

Dr. Jan Lieser thinks similarly to Serreze, and he told CNN it was possible there could be no more sea ice within three generations. Lieser is a marine glaciologist with Australia’s Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center.

Lieser stated sea ice has a great ability to reflect great amounts of solar radiation back into space and NASA explained Arctic sea ice is essential for maintaining the planet’s temperature. It also plays a key role in influencing the circulation of the atmosphere and the ocean.

But the melting of the ice is a non-stopping cycle, and there is little to do to avoid it. Humans can only try to slow down the process, but the harm is done. According to Lieser, the less sea ice there is, the warmer the oceans around the world will get. And when oceans are warm, even less sea ice is produced each year.

Source: CNN