Jiji Press | Daily Yomiuri
The Arctic Ocean’s ice extent has been shrinking at its fastest speed on record this summer, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
The ice extent was 4,664,000 square kilometers as of Saturday, coming close to record 4,254,000 square kilometers observed in September 2007, JAXA said based on data from the Shizuku observation satellite, launched in May.
As the ice cover usually continues to decrease until late September, this year’s extent could be the smallest on record, JAXA officials said Monday.
“Though the shrinking of the ice extent tends to slow in August, it is accelerating this year. This is probably because the ice cover has become thinner in recent years and so can melt more easily,” said Masahiro Hori, a JAXA researcher and a visiting associate professor at Hokkaido University.