Beacon Transcript – Recent analyses of the area revealed that the Antarctic old ice levels, which helps compensate for the year’s seasonal warming periods, have shown a significant thinning and are at the risk of disappearing.
The observation was made by a team of NASA scientists who are analyzing the area as the status of the Arctic ice has been tracked throughout the years with the help of buoys, weather data, and satellite images.
Based on the decades-old records and data gathered on the Arctic ice cap and on modern technology, NASA researchers have created a model of the seasonal shifts and shrinks that affect the arctic ice zone.
As the visualization spans over a period of many years, starting with 1984, scientists have noticed a new trend in the seasonal habits of the Arctic area.
With the seasonal ice levels melting faster and forming over narrower stretches of terrain, the old ice is also exhibiting worrying changes.
The old ice levels are a traditional protection method as it was a constant presence which remained permanently frozen. Its permanent nature helped fight the effects of the warming seasons and protected the integrity of the ice cap through the warmer periods of the year.
However, the recent increase in water and planet temperatures seems to be also affecting the before unchanged old ice, the oldest existing in the Arctic.
After observing its slow disappearance throughout the years, scientists have recently noticed that it is also thinning.
According to a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center sea ice researcher, Walt Meier, the old ice, which used to be thick, is becoming increasingly weaker as its total mass was seen to be reducing.
The remaining old ice patches have lost their structural integrity as they are being affected by the disappearance of the other layers. The current areas feature cracks and broken areas and are also thinner.
Scientists can determine the difference between the ice levels as the one which resists to multiple season melting processes would usually thicken with each passing season and subsequent year.
Such a structure would usually come to a thickness of about 10 to 13 feet, as opposed to the new, seasonal ice which is around 3 to 7 feet thick.
As the thicker, older ice was the basis of the new, thin, and young ice that is usually influenced by the seasonal change, researchers are not too confident in regards to the future of the ice cap.
Researchers warn that a weaker old ice which would be unable to sustain and hold back the seasonal melting and ice losses could come to account for a rise in the water of the oceans.
The changing ocean temperatures could lead to a difference in the weather patterns of the area which would then expand to a number of other areas across the world.
As efforts are being made to stop or at least control the effects of global warming and pollution, the old ice and Arctic ice could follow two paths and either disappear or refreeze.
Image Source: Wikimedia