Global warming shrinks Arctic sea ice to second-lowest level on record

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This summer's Arctic sea ice shrank to its second-lowest ever extent in the 42-year satellite record, the National Snow and Ice Data Center said in a press release on Monday, Sept. 21.

On Sept. 15, 2020, Arctic sea ice appeared to reach its annual minimum extent of 3.74 million square kilometers, or 1.44 million square miles, according to the NSIDC's sea ice index data.

Sea ice helps cool the planet. According to the NSIDC, 80 percent of the sunlight that strikes sea ice is reflected back into space. As sea ice melts, it exposes darker surface waters, which absorb 90 percent of the sunlight.

In a press release on the NSIDC's website, director Mark Serreze said the melting ice was caused in part by 100-degree Fahrenheit heat waves in Siberia that occurred in June and massive wildfires in the Western United States.

Serreze told CNN that if the current trajectory continues, there will eventually be no Arctic sea ice in the later summer.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. European Space Agency's Cryosat-2 platform taking observations of Arctic sea ice
2. Comparison of median Arctic sea ice extent between 1980 and 2020 to Arctic sea ice extent on Sept. 15, 2020
3. Sea ice reflects sunlight back into the atmosphere. As sea ice melts, the ocean absorbs more sunlight and temperatures rise
4. Melting Arctic sea ice caused in part by heat wave in Siberia and wildfires in California
5. Melting sea ice affects Arctic wildlife
6. If the current trajectory continues, there will be no ice in the Arctic in late summer

VOICEOVER (in English):

"According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, this summer's Arctic sea ice shrank to its second-lowest ever extent in the 42-year satellite record."

"This was the average Arctic extent for Sept. 15 from 1981 to 2010. On Sept. 15, 2020, Arctic sea ice appeared to reach its annual minimum extent of 3.74 million square kilometers, or 1.44 million square miles, according to the NSIDC's sea ice index data."

"That's bad news for the climate, as sea ice helps cool the planet. According to the NSIDC, 80 percent of the sunlight that strikes sea ice is reflected back into space. As sea ice melts, it exposes darker surface waters, which absorb 90 percent of the sunlight."

"In a press release on the NSIDC's website, director Mark Serreze said the melting ice was caused in part by 100-degree Fahrenheit heat waves in Siberia that occurred in June and massive wildfires in the Western United States."

"The diminishing sea ice is driving polar bears, which depend on it as a platform for hunting seals, to extinction. It also threatens animals like walruses and seals, which use it as a platform for resting and giving birth."

"NSIDC director Mark Serreze told CNN that if the current trajectory continues, there will eventually be no Arctic sea ice in the later summer."

SOURCES: National Snow and Ice Data Center, CNN, The Guardian, NASA, ESA, USGS
https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/21/us/arctic-sea-ice-shrunk-minimum-extent-2020-scn-trnd/index.html
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/17/climate-crisis-alarm-at-record-breaking-heatwave-in-siberia
https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/147256/california-heatwave-fits-a-trend
https://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Operations/CryoSat-2_operations
https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/quickfacts/seaice.html
https://nsidc.org/news/newsroom/arctic-sea-ice-minimum-extent-2020
https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/fs20123131