Monday, September 17, 2007

Arctic Ocean Ice Thinner By Half in Six Year

BREMERHAVEN, Germany, September 14, 2007 (ENS) - Large areas of Arctic sea ice are only one meter thick this year, about 50 percent thinner than they were in the year 2001, according to measurements taken by 50 scientists on board the research ship Polarstern. The international team is conducting research on sea ice in the central Arctic Basin.

Dr. Ursula Schauer (Photos by Florian Breier courtesy Alfred-Wegener Institute)
"The ice cover in the North Polar Sea is dwindling, the ocean and the atmosphere are becoming steadily warmer, the ocean currents are changing," said chief scientist Dr. Ursula Schauer from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, who has been aboard the Polarstern for two and a half months.

Schauer is currently in the Arctic, underway with scientists from Germany, Russia, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, the United States, Switzerland, Japan, France and China, where they are investigating ocean and sea ice conditions.

"We are in the midst of phase of dramatic change in the Arctic, and the International Polar Year 2007/08 offers us a unique opportunity to study this dwindling ocean in collaboration with international researchers," said Schauer.

The thickness of the Arctic sea ice has been shrinking since 1979, and on this trip oceanographers have found a particularly high concentration of melt-water in the ocean and a large number of melt-ponds. Read More