Satellite data provide insight into melting Arctic ice (SMHI, Sweden)

Satellite data provide insight into melting Arctic ice (SMHI, Sweden)



10 April 2013
Press Release Number:

In September 2012, the smallest ice spread to date in the Arctic was recorded. With data from satellites, scientists at SMHI have analysed changes in the atmosphere, and then compared the conditions for the ice melt in 2012 with 2007, the previous record low for ice spread.

“Satellite-based monitoring of the atmosphere can be an important source of knowledge in predicting extreme ice melts in the Arctic region,” says Abhay Devasthale, a scientist in atmospheric remote sensing at SMHI.

Meteorological conditions

Three changes in the meteorological conditions were likely important factors in the low ice spread: 

  • Ice did not build up as much as normal during the winter and early spring of 2012, as the ice zones in the Euro-Asiatic and North Atlantic areas were warmer than normal.
  • Ocean circulation patterns meant that more ice than normal was carried from the Arctic to the Atlantic Ocean during the spring and early summer of 2012.
  • Warming over the Canadian archipelago and the south-east Beaufort Sea north of Alaska from May and over summer 2012 was probably also a factor. >> More

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