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Perennial sea ice in the Arctic is melting faster each summer than it can be replaced during winter, a new study confirms.
The new study, detailed today in a NASA statement, finds that the ice is not being replaced, threatening the overall stability of the Arctic summer ice cap, which other studies have predicted could disappear completely by 2040.
When perennial ice disappears, it is sometimes replaced by thinner seasonal ice, some of which melts the following summer.
"Recent studies indicate Arctic perennial ice is declining seven to 10 percent each decade," said Ron Kwok of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Kwok found that after the 2005 summer melt, only about four percent of the nearly 965,000 square miles of thin, seasonal ice that formed the previous winter survived the summer and replenished the perennial ice cover.