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Met Office: Arctic Sea ice is declining

New satellite data from the Esa’s Cryosat suggests Arctic sea ice thickness is declining year on year

Scientists at the UK Met Office say Arctic sea ice remains in long-term decline, despite recent media reports suggesting it has recovered.

A blog on the organisation’s website says variability in summer ice levels is not unusual, but warns have consistently fallen 4% per decade since 1979.

The Telegraph, Express and Mail on Sunday carried stories in the past seven days indicating the region’s summer ice had bounced back from last year’s record low.

Yesterday the BBC published data from the European Space Agency’s (Esa) Cryosat mission, indicating that the volumes of Arctic sea ice hit record lows last winter.

The Met Office blog quotes Sea Ice Scientist Ann Keen, who says the 2012 ice low was linked to a storm that hit the region, disrupting the ice pack.

“We know sea ice extent is going to vary from year to year due to weather conditions and that’s not at all inconsistent with the overall decline in extent. You wouldn’t expect to see records broken year after year, so this ‘recovery’ is not unexpected,” she said.

“In fact, model simulations of sea ice suggest that a as the ice gets thinner you actually get more year to year variability in extent because larger areas of the ice are more vulnerable to melting away completely over the summer.”

According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), last year’s minimum sea ice extent was 0.76 million square kilometres lower than the previous record set in 2007.

Scientists say sea ice levels have not reached their summer minimum yet.

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