Sea ice in coastal areas of the Arctic may be thinning twice as fast as previously believed, according to a new modeling study. The thickness of sea ice is estimated by measuring the height of the ice above the water, and this measurement is distorted by the ice reducing the flow of ice.
Scientists use ice depth maps in the Arctic that are decades old and do not account for climate change. In the new study, the researchers swapped this map for the results of a new computer model designed to estimate the depth of ice as it varies from year to year, and concluded that sea ice in key coastal regions was thinning at a rate that was 70 to 100 per cent faster than previously thought.
According to another study, it states that – “The thickness of sea ice is a sensitive indicator of the health of the Arctic. This is important because the thick ice acts as an insulating blanket, allowing the ocean to warm the atmosphere in winter, and protect the ocean from the sun in the summer. Even thin ice is less likely to survive during the Arctic summer melt.”It explains further – “Previous calculations of sea ice thickness are based on ice maps last updated 20 years ago. Our calculations account for this decreasing ice depth for the first time, and suggest that sea ice is thinning faster than we through have been.”