Record low Arctic sea ice minimum observed in 2016
© RIA Novosti. Valeriy Melnikov

Record low Arctic sea ice minimum observed in 2016

The lowest Arctic sea ice minimum has been recorded in 2016, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in an interview with the TASS news agency.

"This year, we can see the lowest sea ice minimum in the Arctic. In September, the sea ice area amounted to only 4.14 mln square kilometers. This is the second such incident, after 2012, since the start of observations in the 1970s. […] The freezing process this autumn was also weaker than usual," he said.

According to Taalas, climate change takes place largely due to snow and ice melting. The WMO also records a sea level rise of 20 cm, along with an increase in sea temperature.

"The Arctic is a very interesting region in terms of large volumes of oil and gas. With further ice melting, gases and vapors will be emitted in the Arctic basin, which must be closely monitored," he said.

"In parts of Arctic Russia, temperatures were 6 to 7°C above the long-term average. Many other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada were at least 3°C above average," said Taalas.

Taalas is taking part in the United Nations Climate Change conference, held in Marrakech, Morocco (COP22). More than 20,000 delegates from 196 countries, including Russia, have gathered for the conference.