NEWS FROM RCN
31.01.2011

Winds from Siberia reduce Arctic sea ice cover

The ice cover in the Arctic has decreased dramatically in recent years. Norwegian researchers have discovered that changes in air circulation patterns create winds that push away the ice.

Asgeir Sorteberg

Photo: 
Jill Johannessen

In recent years, satellite images have shown large variations in the ice cover around the North Pole. The images have also shown that the ice cover in the Arctic has diminished considerably over the past 30 years, with the most drastic reductions occurring in recent years.

Climate change or other causes?

The media regularly cite sources who believe that it is now only a matter of decades before climate change results in a totally ice-free Arctic during parts of the year. For instance, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that this may occur by the end of this century.

How much of the change in ice cover is caused by dramatic changes in the climate, and how much is the result of other factors? And what is causing the ice cover in the Arctic to disappear even faster than the climate models project?

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