According to American scientists, the Arctic ice cap is on course to shrink to its lowest level yet next week.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has released a report, stating the extent of Arctic sea ice will reach a record low. The NSIDC is a the U.S. agency that tracks the amount of ice in the Arctic.
Five years ago, the ice crap shrank by more than 1.5 million square miles. But with two weeks of the summer season still to go, this year is likely to see a significant loss.
“The numbers are coming in and we are looking at them with a sense of amazement,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado.
“If the melt were to just suddenly stop today, we would be at the third lowest in the satellite record. We’ve still got another two weeks of melt to go, so I think we’re very likely to set a new record.”
An Arctic cyclone earlier this month was said to be a contributory factor to the decline of Arctic ice. But according to reports, Serreze said the lack of extraordinary weather influences made the melt more remarkable. Serreze also added it was possible that the rapid melt had played a part in severe storms in the US in recent years as it changed the nature of the planet’s temperature gradients.
As more of the ice cap thaws, Arctic-border countries including Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the US are expected to start considering the ocean for trade.
Just last week, the first icebreaker from China sailed from the Pacific to the Atlantic through the Arctic Ocean, cutting the distance by more than 40%.