Is There Even Less Arctic Sea Ice Than the Satellites Show?
Only 350 miles from the north pole, possibly 50% of the sea is covered in ice, yet data says there is ice cover at this latitude.
Where is the ice? We are now at 83.20N which is very close to the north pole yet still there is no continuous ice cover (head here for more on my journey through the Arctic). We are mostly among small, thin, one- and two-year-old floes, with very little of the older, harder and more resilient “multiyear”, or permanent ice that you would expect in these latitudes.
Our ice pilot, Arne Sorensen, went up in the helicopter and found little change even as far north as 83.50 – just 350 miles from the pole. Just finding an ice floe big enough to moor the 50 metre-long Arctic Sunrise for the scientists aboard to conduct their experiments has proven harder than expected – something that many think is almost unheard of at this latitude.
The obvious inference is that the ice has retreated far further this year than before and we will need to check previous years’ satellite data to confirm this. But there may actually be far less ice in the Arctic than the satellite figures suggest.
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