German research ship returns from the arctic ocean with alarming warning
The German Research Vessel Polarstern has returned to its home port after completing a remarkable journey to the Arctic Ocean.
The ship spent a year in the polar north to studying the Arctic climate and how it is changing.
Prof Markus Rex, an onboard scientist stated that “The sea-ice is dying”.
“The region is at risk. We were able to witness how the ice disappears and in areas where there should have been ice that was many meters thick, and even at the North Pole – that ice was gone,” the Alfred Wegener Institute scientist told a media conference in Bremerhaven on Monday.
The €130m (£120m/$150m) cruise set off from Tromsø, Norway, on 20 September last year. The project was named the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC).
RV Polarstern was on station to document this summer’s floes shrink to their second lowest ever extent in the modern era.
The floating ice withdrew to just under 3.74 million sq km (1.44 million sq miles). The only time this minimum has been beaten in the age of satellites was 2012, when the pack ice was reduced to 3.41 million sq km.
The downward trend is about 13% per decade, averaged across the month of September.
“This reflects the warming of the Arctic,” said Prof Rex. “The ice is disappearing and if in a few decades we have an ice-free Arctic – this will have a major impact on the climate around the world.”