Photo: Arctic Ice Isn't Refreezing in the Winter, Satellites Show



Many marine animals, such as the bearded seal (at top), make their homes on Arctic sea ice. (Explore an interactive Arctic through the eyes of a bearded seal.)

New research shows that, for the second year in a row, a large amount of Arctic sea ice did not refreeze during the winter as it normally does, a trend that may indicate an overall shrinking of Arctic ice-cover due to rapid global climate change.

The maps at bottom show an overall decrease in minimum sea-ice extent—the area of ocean covered by at least 15 percent of ice—between 2002 and 2005. The pink outline shows the mean minimum sea-ice edge that existed between 1979 and 2000.

Top photograph by Flip Nicklin/NGS, bottom image courtesy National Snow and Ice Data Center


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