Arctic undergoing rapid change due to climate change, pollution and human activityDecember 3rd, 2008 - 12:18 pm ICT by ANI
Paris, Dec 3 (ANI): Observations by the European Space Agencys (ESAs) ERS and Envisat satellites have revealed that the Arctic is undergoing rapid transformation due to climate change, pollution and human activity.
From their unique positions in space, Earth-observing satellites provide effective means of continuously monitoring these regions.
The Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) sensor aboard Envisat is especially suitable for monitoring the Arctic because it can acquire images through clouds and darkness conditions often found there.
In 2007, ASAR data showed that the Arctic area covered by sea ice had shrunk to its lowest level since satellites began monitoring the area nearly 30 years ago.
In 2008, ASAR data revealed that the Northern Sea Route, also known as the Northeast Passage, and the Northwest Passage were both open simultaneously for the first time since satellite measurements began.
Using another instrument aboard Envisat, the radar altimeter, scientists measured sea ice thickness over the Arctic from 2002 to 2008.
Based on these data, they found that sea ice thickness in large parts of the Arctic had declined by as much as 19 percent in 2007 compared to the previous five winters.
The Arctic is experiencing an increase in shipping, primarily for oil and gas development and tourism, with further increases expected due to diminishing ice extent.
The ice loss has also lead to an increasing number of icebergs in the area.
Research is difficult to carry out in Polar Regions because of the remoteness and harshness of the area. But, from their unique positions in space, Earth-observing satellites provide effective means of continuously monitoring these regions.
According to Ulf Gullne, a Polar View user responsible for ice-breaking services in Sweden, It is vital for the safety of winter navigation to know where the ice is and where it is going to be. The use of satellite images has also reduced our ice-breakers fuel consumption by half. (ANI)
- Arctic sea ice shrinks to smallest ever - Aug 28, 2012
- Arctic ice could vanish within 10 years: Scientists - Aug 13, 2012
- CryoSat to investigate Earth's ice cover - Feb 16, 2010
- Arctic sea ice thinning at record rate - Oct 29, 2008
- Arctic sea ice thins by 19 percent - Oct 29, 2008
- NASA: Arctic's thickest ice diminishing faster than thin ice - Mar 01, 2012
- Arctic ice melting: Russian meteorologists - Aug 07, 2011
- Launch of CryoSat-2 ice satellite successful - Apr 09, 2010
- Arctic sea ice loss driving snowy winters - Feb 28, 2012
- Thickest Arctic Sea ice melting much faster - Mar 01, 2012
- Arctic sea ice level reaches second-lowest in history - Oct 06, 2011
- China to build polar icebreaker - Sep 19, 2011
- NASA spacecraft reveals dramatic thinning of Arctic sea ice - Jul 08, 2009
- Chandrayaan-1 instrument finds additional evidence of water activity on Moon - Mar 02, 2010
- Arctic's sea ice melt hits second-lowest level - Oct 07, 2011
Tags: arctic area, climate change pollution, darkness conditions, envisat, harshness, icebergs, northeast passage, northern sea route, northwest passage, oil and gas, polar regions, polar view, radar altimeter, rapid change, rapid transformation, satellite measurements, satellites, sea ice thickness, synthetic aperture radar, winter navigation