The European Space Agency (ESA) today announced that the volume of Arctic sea ice measured this year is up 50% from the volume measured in 2012. The ESA’s CryoSat satellite measured 9,000 cubic km or sea ice back in October, up from the 6,000 cubic km measured in 2012.
This new measurement bucks the declining ice measurements measured in the past few consecutive years. According to the ESA most of this year’s increase can be attributed to the growth of “multiyear ice,” or ice that makes it through the summer months without melting. Multiyear ice in 2013 was measured to be around 20% thicker than was measured in 2012.
“One of the things we’d noticed in our data was that the volume of ice year-to-year was not varying anything like as much as the ice extent – at least in 2010, 2011 and 2012,” said Rachel Tilling, lead author of a new report on the findings and a researcher at the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling.
These multiyear ice measurements, according to the ESA, could be a sign that the Arctic sea ice is “healthy.” However, the report’s authors are also warning that this year’s ice increase does not mean the long-term declining trend in Arctic ice volume has reversed.
“It’s estimated that there was around 20 000 cubic kilometres of Arctic sea ice each October in the early 1980s, and so today’s minimum still ranks among the lowest of the past 30 years,” said Andrew Shepherd, a co-author of the study and a researcher at University College London.
(Image courtesy ESA)