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Drop in sea ice could be affecting weather

Melting Arctic sea ice.
Melting Arctic sea ice.

Jill Colton, staff writer

September 15, 2011 — Scientists have reported less Arctic sea ice in 2011 -- and weather might be influenced by the phenomenon.

Glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate.
Glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate.

The U-S based National Snow and Ice Data Center says Arctic sea ice is the lowest it's ever been since satellites began recording it.

They say the amount of ice in the north is almost at the all-time low of 2007 and could drop further over the next couple of weeks.

This is the second scientific body to confirm the findings -- the first assessment was by German researchers a few days ago. They concluded ice cover is already less than it was in 2007.

The findings are worrisome as the ice melt occurred during a year when weather was seemingly average as opposed to 2007.

Scientists at the data center believe that the open water at the top of the world is most likely affecting weather in the southern regions.

Eastern Canada's heavy snow in 2009, could be a result of the melting Arctic ice.
Eastern Canada's heavy snow in 2009, could be a result of the melting Arctic ice.

There might also be a link to heavy snows in Eastern Canada in 2009.

Universally, Arctic sea ice is considered a leading indicator of climate change.

In B.C.’s Glacier National Park, scientists believe more than 50 per cent of the glacier ice has melted away in the last century – enough melted ice to fill a reservoir at least five km tall by five km wide.

Bryn Jones, a meteorologist here at The Weather Network says the reason the Arctic sea ice is melting comes down to location.

“Much of this is the result of the Far North being able to absorb more sunlight due to a decreasing area of white, reflective land and ocean surfaces which would otherwise bounce the sun’s energy back out to space rather than letting the earth’s surface absorb it.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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