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Sea ice is formed from ocean water that freezes, whether along coasts or to the sea floor (fast ice) or floating on the surface (drift ice) or packed together (pack ice). The most important areas of pack ice are the polar ice packs. Because of vast amounts of water added to or removed from the oceans and atmosphere, the behavior of polar ice packs have a significant impact on the global changes in climate.


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Arctic freeze slows down

30 November 2016

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ESA's CryoSat satellite has found that the Arctic has one of the lowest volumes of sea ice of any November, matching record lows in 2011 and 2012. Early winter growth of ice in the Arctic has been about 10% lower than usual.

CryoSat carries a radar altimeter that can measure the surface height variation of ice in fine detail, allowing scientists to record changes in its volume with unprecedented accuracy.

These observations are vital for tracking climate change and are an essential resource for maritime operators who increasingly navigate the icy waters of Earth's polar regions.

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