Arctic ice at lowest point in recent geologic history

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Washington, June 3 (ANI): Arctic ice has reached its lowest point in recent geologic history, reveals a new research.

The study appears in Quarternary Science Reviews.

A team led by Ohio State University re-examined the data from past and ongoing studies - nearly 300 in all - and combined them to form a big-picture view of the pole's climate history stretching back millions of years.

Lead author Leonid Polyak, a research scientist at Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, said: "The ice loss that we see today-the ice loss that started in the early 20th Century and sped up during the last 30 years-appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years."atellites can provide detailed measures of how much ice is covering the pole right now, but sediment cores are like fossils of the ocean's history, he explained.

Polyak said: "Sediment cores are essentially a record of sediments that settled at the sea floor, layer by layer, and they record the conditions of the ocean system during the time they settled. When we look carefully at various chemical and biological components of the sediment, and how the sediment is distributed -- then, with certain skills and luck, we can reconstruct the conditions at the time the sediment was deposited."

"When we look carefully at various chemical and biological components of the seafloor sediment, and how the sediment is distributed -- then, with certain skills and luck, we can reconstruct the conditions at the time the sediment was deposited."

"Underneath the surface, the ice can be thick or thin. The newest satellite techniques and field observations allow us to see that the volume of ice is shrinking much faster than its area today. The picture is very troubling. We are losing ice very fast."

"Maybe sometime down the road we'll develop proxies for the ice thickness. Right now, just looking at ice extent is very difficult."

As scientists pull more sediment cores from the Arctic, Polyak and his collaborators want to understand more details of the past ice extent and to push this knowledge further back in time.

During the summer of 2011, they hope to draw cores from beneath the Chukchi Sea, just north of the Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia.

Polyak said: "Later on in this cruise, when we venture into the more central Arctic Ocean, we will aim at harvesting cores that go back even farther.

"If we could go as far back as a million years, that would be perfect." (ANI)

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