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Arctic Sea Ice Rebounds, But Not Recovering

Over the last few decades, and particularly in recent years, the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by a skin of sea ice has steadily shrunk. But it's not just this extent that matters-the volume of sea ice, which takes into account its thickness, is also important, but traditionally much more difficult to measure.

The 2010 launch of the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 satellite finally allowed scientists to take a wide-scale view of Arctic sea ice volume, and the first five years of data have yielded some surprises.

The volume of sea ice left at the end of the summer melt season seems to vary more from year to year than had perhaps been previously appreciated; after declining for several years, sea ice volume shot up after the unusually cool summer of 2013, the data revealed.

The authors of a new study reviewing the volume data, detailed on Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience, are quick to caution, though, that one single year of rebound doesn't suggest any sea ice recovery, as the overall trend is still downward. Rather, the view afforded by CryoSat-2 will help them get a better handle on the ice's future.

From: http://www.scientificamerican.com

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