[THS] Arctic ice pack at third lowest extent
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Sun Sep 20 19:33:58 CEST 2009
Arctic ice pack at third lowest extent since 1979: US
[Ad: Arctic ice pack at third lowe...] AFP/NASA-HO/File Handout picture captured in
2007 by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) Instrument on
Fri Sep 18, 1:22 pm ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) The Arctic sea ice pack thawed to its third smallest size on
record during the northern hemisphere summer of 2009, US government scientists
said, citing satellite images.
While the sea ice pack at its lowest 2009 point was slightly larger than both the
record-low ice pack measured in 2007 and the summer 2008 ice pack, the data
confirms a shrinkage trend seen over the past 30 years, the US National Snow and
Ice Data Center said in a statement late Thursday.
The Arctic sea ice pack size has fallen sharply since 1979, especially during the
summer months, the center said.
As of September 12, the surface of the Arctic sea ice pack was 5.1 million square
kilometers (1.97 million square miles), its smallest point of the year.
At the peak of the summer 2007 melt the Arctic sea ice pack measured 4.1 million
square kilometers -- a record low -- while the following year at the lowest point it
measured 4.5 million square kilometers.
The summer 2009 low point however was still 1.61 million square kilometers (620,000
square miles) less than the annual 1979 to 2000 average ice pack size, the NSIDC
The center's glaciologists attributed the difference in the size of the 2009 ice pack
compared to the previous two years to prevailing winds blowing in a different
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