Arctic sea ice cover is expected to decline to its second-lowest level since satellite observations began in 1979, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have warned. “Based on an Arctic sea prediction system developed by our research team, the ice cover is expected to shrink to 4.1 million square kilometers (1.6 million sq miles) in September,” EFE news quoted the scientist, Liu Jiping, from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the CAS, as saying on Tuesday.
The Arctic sea ice cover shrank to 3.41 million sq km in September 2012, the lowest on record. Arctic sea ice normally shrinks in September every year. The effects of climate change have brought about significant changes to the sea ice cover, with an almost 50 per cent reduction since 1979.
CAS scientists said the shrinking will allow ships to pass through the Northeast Passage of the Arctic, a path running through the upper region of Siberia, Russia. Liu said the loss of Arctic sea ice in autumn and winter will affect atmospheric circulation and that China may suffer from poor air quality as a result.