Despite the significant increase in the Arctic icecap’s size this winter, satellite data of the icecap’s actual volume and thickness suggest that the new ice was quite thin.


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The uncertainty of science: Despite the significant increase in the size of the Arctic Ocean’s icecap this winter, satellite data of the icecap’s actual volume and thickness suggest that the new ice was quite thin.

Prof Andy Shepherd, from Leeds University, said: “Now that we have three years of data, we can see that some parts of the ice pack have thinned more rapidly than others. At the end of winter, the ice was thinner than usual. Although this summer’s extent will not get near its all-time satellite-era minimum set last year, the very thin winter floes going into the melt season could mean that the summer volume still gets very close to its record low,” he told BBC News.

It is not surprising that the ice was thin, considering that the icecap was recovering from a record low the year before. The scientific question, however, is whether the cap will thicken in the coming years or continue to thin out. That it has recovered somewhat in size might be a onetime jump as the decline continues, or it might be indicative of a new growing trend.

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