Arctic sea ice - the ice that freezes and floats on Arctic waters - is thinning at a steadier and faster rate than researchers previously thought, a new study finds.
Using modern and historic measurements, the researchers got an extensive view of how the thickness of Arctic sea ice has changed over the past few decades. According to measurements from multiple sources, the ice in the central Arctic Ocean thinned
65 percent between 1975 and 2012, from 11.7 feet (3.59 meters) to 4.1 feet (1.25 m).
The results of studies conducted by University of Washington researchers show a thinning in the central Arctic Ocean of 65 percent between 1975 and 2012. September ice thickness, when the ice cover is at a minimum, is 85 percent thinner for the same 37-year stretch.
Lead author Ron Lindsay said that the ice is thinning dramatically, adding they knew the ice was thinning, but we now have additional confirmation on how fast, and we can see that it's not slowing down.
The study is the first to combine all available observations of Arctic sea ice thickness, and highlights how much the climate has really changed in recent decades.
The decline in the sea-ice extent lets ice-free waters become more turbulent and these may have been causing changes in the chemistry, circulation and the environment in the Arctic Ocean. Scientists at the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Portsmouth have conducted an investigation on this using recent information gathered by the Royal Navy submarine.
The research, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Letters, demonstrates the Arctic ice sheet’s direct impact on the configuration and constancy of the ocean’s water column and the nature of the turbulence.