News

Arctic Sea Ice at Record Minimum, GOOS Reports

24 August 2012: Arctic sea ice extent has reached a record-breaking minimum in August 2012, according to data from the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).

According to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Arctic sea ice meltback in August 2012 has exceeded the meltback measured in August 2007, the year of the greatest meltback on record. Arctic sea ice area is expected to continue decreasing until September. The rapid meltback is due to anomalous weather patterns observed across the Arctic, which brought temperatures 1-3ºC above the decadal averages for 1981-2010. Average monthly Arctic sea ice extent data shows a clear decreasing trend since 1979.

Data on sea ice extent is monitored, collected and disseminated by the Arctic Regional Ocean Observing System (Arctic ROOS), which is part of GOOS, the overarching coordination tool for observing, modeling and analyzing marine and ocean variables worldwide. Data yielded by GOOS are used to provide: accurate descriptions of the present state of the oceans; continuous forecasts of the future conditions; and the basis for climate forecasts. GOOS is sponsored by IOC, UNESCO, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Council for Science (ICSU). [GOOS Press Release] [UNESCO Press Release]