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June 2009

Vol. 14, No. 24 Week of June 14, 2009

Arctic sea ice melted rapidly in May

After a slow start to the annual melt of Arctic sea ice, after the ice reached its maximum extent at the end of February, the melt gained momentum in May, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported June 3. Scientists both in the NSIDC and in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have expressed concern that the thinning of Arctic sea ice as a result of the loss of multi-year ice will fuel a trend towards ever smaller ice extents during the summer.

“The thinness of the ice pack makes it likely that the minimum ice extent will again fall below normal, but how far below normal will depend on atmospheric conditions through the summer,” NSIDC said in its June 3 report.

The rate of melting in May this year was similar to that in May of 2008, NIDC said. The ice extent minimum in 2008 came close to the record minimum of 2007, with the Northwest Passage becoming ice free for a time in each of those years.

—Alan Bailey






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