this season’s arctic sea ice ain’t forming

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NORMALLY, THE ICE IN THE ARCTIC grows in the cold of the winter months and shrinks in the warmth of the rest of the year. But that ain’t happening in the winter of 2020-2021. The article “This Year’s Arctic Sea Ice Is Failing to Form, Raising a Huge Red Flag” tells us that the ice still hasn’t refrozen since last winter.

Written by Dharna Noor for Gizmodo (October 23, 2020), the article continues:

“Arctic ice is seasonal. It melts down in the summer sun and relative warmth, then freezes back up when fall’s chill comes. Or at least, it should be that way. But right now it’s late October [in 2020], and the ice in Siberia’s Laptav Sea still hasn’t refrozen.

It’s the latest ice-free date the sea has seen in recorded history and is driving Arctic sea ice as a whole to its lowest point on record for this time of year.

This summer there was a bizarre heat wave that meant ice along the Siberian coast melted more quickly than usual.

The Laptav Sea is the Arctic’s main nursery of sea ice. Generally, ice that forms in the area drifts to other parts of the Arctic on offshore winds, helping to form ice packs in other bodies of water.

This summer, though, there was a bizarre, extended heat wave in the Arctic Circle and other adjacent regions. That meant ice along the Siberian coast melted more quickly than usual, leaving large open areas of water.

Current windy and wavy conditions are further also inhibiting ice formation. The lack of ice and resulting warm water could seriously mess with the sea’s lush ecosystems, wreaking havoc on fish and other organisms.”

To read this article in its entirety, click here.

This article addresses the bizarre heatwave in the Arctic that caused ice along the Siberian coast to melt more quickly than usual, leaving large open areas of water. Click To Tweet

Graph charting arctic sea ice levels from 1979 through 2020.

FEATURED IMAGE: The image at the top of this page is of a graph showing the plummeting levels of ice in the Siberian Sea. I stripped all the data from the graph and just left the chart lines against a black backdrop. (Graphic by Zachary Labe.)


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