University Study Shows Arctic Sea Ice Still Melting

BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 7 (UPI) — University of Colorado-Boulder scientists say arctic sea ice coverage recovered slightly this year, but still remains on a downward trend.

Researchers at the university’s National Snow and Ice Data Center said the arctic’s 2009 minimum sea ice extent was the third lowest since satellite record-keeping began in 1979. The past five years have seen the five lowest arctic sea ice extents ever recorded.

“It’s nice to see a little recovery over the past couple of years, but there’s no reason to think that we’re headed back to conditions seen in the 1970s,” said Professor Mark Serreze, director of the center. “We still expect to see ice-free summers sometime in the next few decades.”

The average ice extent during September, a standard measurement for climate studies, was 2.07 million square miles. That’s 409,000 square miles greater the record low for the month recorded in 2007.

The 2009 arctic sea ice extent was still 649,000 square miles below the 1979-2000 September average, according to the report.

Scientists said arctic sea ice in September is now declining at a rate of 11.2 percent per decade and, during winter months, by about 3 percent per decade.

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Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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