Related topics: satellite · climate change · sea ice · climate models · arctic

Researchers find new reason Arctic is warming so fast

The Arctic has experienced the warming effects of global climate change faster than any other region on the planet. Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have developed a new theory aided by computer simulations ...

2016 climate trends continue to break records

Two key climate change indicators—global surface temperatures and Arctic sea ice extent—have broken numerous records through the first half of 2016, according to NASA analyses of ground-based observations and satellite ...

The heat goes on: Earth sets 9th straight monthly record

The January figures are in, and Earth's string of hottest-months-on-record has now reached nine in a row. But NASA said January stood out: The temperature was above normal by the highest margin of any month on record.

Wind and rain belts to shift north as planet warms, research says

As humans continue to heat the planet, a northward shift of Earth's wind and rain belts could make a broad swath of regions drier, including the Middle East, American West and Amazonia, while making Monsoon Asia and equatorial ...

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Polar ice packs

Polar ice packs are large areas of pack ice formed from seawater in the Earth's polar regions, known as polar ice caps: the Arctic ice pack (or Arctic ice cap) of the Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic ice pack of the Southern Ocean, fringing the Antarctic ice sheet. Polar packs significantly change their size during seasonal changes of the year. However, underlying this seasonal variation, there is an underlying trend of melting as part of a more general process of Arctic shrinkage.

In spring and summer, when melting occurs, the margins of the sea ice retreat. The vast bulk of the world's sea ice forms in the Arctic ocean and the Southern Ocean, around Antarctica. The Antarctic ice cover is highly seasonal, with very little ice in the austral summer, expanding to an area roughly equal to that of Antarctica in winter. Consequently, most Antarctic sea ice is first year ice, up to 1 meter thick. The situation in the Arctic is very different (a polar sea surrounded by land, as opposed to a polar continent surrounded by sea) and the seasonal variation much less[citation needed], currently 28% of Arctic basin sea ice is multi-year ice, thicker than seasonal: up to 3–4 meters thick over large areas, with ridges up to 20 meters thick.

The amount of sea ice around the poles in winter varies from the Antarctic with 18,000,000 km² to the Arctic with 15,000,000 km².[citation needed] The amount melted each summer is affected by the different environments: the cold Antarctic pole is over land, which is bordered by sea ice in the freely-circulating Southern Ocean.

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