On The Radio – Sea ice at poles is disappearing at an alarming rate


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Jake Slobe | December 5, 2016

This week’s On The Radio segment discusses the melting of arctic sea ice.

Transcript: Arctic sea ice is disappearing at an alarming rate due to abnormally high temperatures in the region.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, late last month arctic sea ice coverage was nearly one million square kilometers less than the previous record low in 2012. Experts note that arctic sea ice should be spreading during this time of year, instead it is static or declining.

The melting of arctic ice has a significant effect on the Arctic climate system. As the climate warms and ice melts into the dark ocean, more sunlight is absorbed into the water during the summer months. In contrast, light-colored ice helps to deflect the sun’s rays away from earth. The heat that is contained in the ocean can also prevent ice from forming in the future.

Researchers point out that sea ice cover in Antarctica is also at a record low, most likely due to weather patterns in the Pacific. Gerald Meehl, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said that additional melting of sea ice in the Antarctic can be expected for the next five to ten years.

For more information about sea ice coverage in the poles and to this report in whole, visit iowaenvironmentafocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

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