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. 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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