September 12, 2011
The amount of Arctic sea ice has melted to a historic low, with the area of land covered by ice at the smallest level since scientists began observing it with satellites in 1972, researchers from the University of Bremen in Germany report.
The North Pole skull cap shrank to about half a percent under the previous record low set in September 2007, according to the school’s Institute of Environmental Physics.
Researchers, including those from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, had predicted earlier this summer that Arctic sea ice levels could reach extreme lows. But the University of Bremen physicists said there was uncertainty in July about whether the ice melt would surpass the previous record.
They said their studies indicated that continuing ice decline was related to man-made global warming.
“It seems to be clear that this is a further consequence of the man-made global warming with global consequences,” researchers said in their report. “Directly, the livehood of small animals, algae, fishes and mammals like polar bears and seals is more and more reduced.”