Expert: Ice degradation stabilizes in the Arctic
St. Petersburg. The ice in the Arctic seas, which hit the historic minimum levels in the early 2010s, has stabilized, Director of the Arctic and Antarctic Studies Institute Alexander Makarov told TASS.
"We monitor the ice situation permanently: in 2007 and in 2012 we registered the absolute minimums of ice areas in the Arctic seas, but the situation has stabilized over recent two years," he told an Arctic forum. "This season, in the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea the ice situation is very complicated (for navigation because of very thick ice - TASS), thus we cannot say the ice thawing is a line process."
According to the expert, the recent research results allow scientists to hope many ecology and climate processes, which formerly used to be eyed as features or even reasons of the global warming, are cyclic.
"The ice area has been degrading on the Baranov Cape (the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago) - for the previous 20 years the ice has been growing there, but over recent 18-24 months the ice is thawing there," he continued. "If we see this process only this year, we shall have a feeling of a big thawing, but when we look at it in process, we shall see it is a regular process: some ice should go after the earlier gaining of ice."
The expert continued by saying the situation around methane's emissions from the thawing permafrost is similar to the situation around the ice areas. "For 20 years, we have been watching the permafrost in the Lena's delta, we study dynamics of greenhouse gases' emissions, and this work makes us realize the claims about the "methane bomb," saying methane emissions [in permafrost's thawing] influence the climate's warming, are not quite precise," the scientist said. "Most likely, methane emissions are of regular origin and are not a catastrophic process, which has emerged only lately."
About the forum
The Arctic: Present and Future forum, organized by the Association of Polar Explorers, was in St. Petersburg on December 5-7. The event featured about 2,000 participants from Russian Arctic regions and from more than 20 countries, including the Arctic Council's all member states.