August 3, 2011
The average Arctic ice cover of about 7.92 million square kilometers (3.06 million square miles), during the month of July, is the new record in lowest Arctic ice cover for the month. (clicking on the image on the left takes to the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s original image).
The according to a report released by National Snow and Ice Data Center, the previous lowest ice cover record in July of 2007 was some 210,000 square kilometers (81,000 square miles) more than the current area.
The current ice cover is 2.18 million square kilometers less than the average area of the polar ice cap when averaged from 1979 to 2000. This shows the alarming rate of the shrinkage of Polar ice-cap in the recent time.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center has compared the average of 1979-2000 ice cover with the 2007 and 2011showing a scary truth of the effect of global warming and depleting ice cover.
The shrinking ice cover is bad for the environment and the Arctic animals. But commercially, it might open new opportunities like increased Arctic explorations and transportation along Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage. To increase the amount of ships to use the Northern Sea Route, Russia is planning to build six new icebreakers for the 2012 season.
But, that doesn’t help making the following graph look less scary! (Credit: NSIDC)