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Danish researchers find Arctic sea ice at record low October levels

The extent of sea ice in the Arctic was at record lows for October, Danish researchers said Wednesday, adding the unusually warm season meant it was not recovering as fast as normal.

Danish researchers find Arctic sea ice at record low October levels
Arctic sea ice on September 14th. Photo: Natalie Thomas/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

“The October Arctic sea ice extent is going to be the lowest on record and the sea ice growth rate is slower than normal,” Rasmus Tonboe, a scientist at the Danish Meteorogical Institute (DMI), told AFP, noting that records went back to 1979.

Researchers noted as early as September the second lowest extent of sea ice recorded in the Arctic, though not quite hitting the levels recorded in 2012.

But warmer-than-normal sea water slowed the formation of new ice in October.

Water temperatures in the eastern part of the Arctic, north of Siberia, was two to four degrees warmer than normal, and in Baffin Bay, it was one to two degrees warmer, DMI said in a statement.

The institute said this was following a trend observed in recent years, which was described as a “vicious spiral.”

“It's a trend we've been seeing the past years, with a longer open water season making the sun warm the sea for a longer time, resulting in shorter winters so the ice doesn't grow as thick as it used to,” Tonboe said.

READ ALSO: Climate change sends melting Greenland ice 'past tipping point'

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Danish parliament gives go ahead to giant artificial island off Copenhagen

Denmark's parliament has given the go-ahead to build Lynetteholm, a giant artificial island that will protect Copenhagen's harbour waters from rising sea levels at the same times as providing homes for 35,000 people.

Danish parliament gives go ahead to giant artificial island off Copenhagen
How the island will look while udner construction. Photo: By og Havn

The bill empowering the government to push ahead with the project passed with a massive majority of 85 in favour and 12 against, opening the way for work to push ahead on the 2.8 square kilometer island early as this autumn.

In a short debate on Friday morning, Thomas Jensen, the Social Democrat MP coordinating the bill, dismissed claims that not enough had been done to assess the environmental consequences of what has been described as the largest construction project in Danish history.

“Of the bills I have helped to implement here in the parliament, this is the one which has been most thoroughly discussed, with expert consultations, technical reviews, and almost 200 questions to the Ministry of Transport, which have been answered by the rapporteurs,” he said. “So in terms of process, it is completely worked out.”

READ ALSO: 

Ahead of the vote protesters from the Stop Lynetteholm Facebook group staged a protest outside the parliament, with many dressed in Sean the Sheep costumes. 

Protesters dressed as sheep staged a demonstration against the Lynetteholm project outside the parliament. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The parliamentary vote is not the last hurdle.

The project is also being challenged in the European Court of Justice, on the grounds that the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)  have looked at the impact of constructing the island itself, but not of the roads, metro lines, housing and other developments which will go on it.

Lynetteholm is being built partly as a coastal protection project, with a dam that will protect Copenhagen from future storm surges.

The plan was first announced in 2018 by the then Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, and the then Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen. 

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