this season’s arctic sea ice ain’t forming

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 minutes.

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. Share on X

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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