Arctic ice is melting faster than ever before
The German research vessel "Polarstern" was in the Arctic from 2019 to 2020 and measured the entire ice cycle. Now researchers are sounding the alarm bells.
Berlin (dpa) - During the one-year "Mosaic" expedition of the German research vessel "Polarstern" in the central Arctic, the ice retreated faster than ever before since records began. In the summer of 2020, the ice covered only half the area it had decades ago, said Markus Rex of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Berlin, who was in charge of the expedition at the time, giving an interim assessment eight months after the end of the expedition.
At the same time, the ice was only half as thick as it was almost 130 years ago. In the autumn of 2020, the ice sheet also closed much later than ever before. "The long ice-free period in summer allowed the ocean to absorb and store large amounts of heat," Rex said.
The "Polarstern" had set off for the Arctic from Bremerhaven in September 2019 and returned in October 2020. For ten months, the ship drifted through the Arctic Ocean docked to a huge ice floe. This allowed scientists to measure and document the entire ice cycle from freezing to melting for the first time. They hope that the data they obtained will provide important insights into the Arctic Ocean – and into global climate change.
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