The story appears on

Page A9

September 18, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Arctic ice expands following big melt

ICE on the Arctic Ocean has started to expand after a summer thaw to the third smallest area on record allowed ships to test a new sea route past north Russia.

"It looks like we have passed the minimum ice area this year," Ola Johannessen, head of the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Norway, said yesterday based on satellite images indicating a tiny increase in ice area.

Many scientists say shrinking Arctic ice in recent years has been among the strongest signs of global warming. World leaders will meet at United Nations headquarters in New York on September 22 to discuss a climate treaty due to be agreed in December.

At the end of the Arctic summer in September 2007, the ice contracted to the smallest area since satellites made monitoring possible in the late 1970s. The 2009 minimum is third smallest behind 2008 at just under 5 million square kilometers.

"It's recuperated a bit from the past two years but it's still far below the average in recent decades," Johannessen said.

"The cause is mainly climate change," said Peter Wadhams, professor of Ocean Physics at Cambridge University studying ice thickness aboard the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise between Greenland and Svalbard.

Thinning ice has made it more vulnerable to being broken up by winds and waves.

The melt enabled commercial ships to test the route along the coast of Russia for the first time. Two German ships delivered industrial equipment from South Korea to the Siberian port of Yamburg last week.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend