there’s an ocean where there used to be ice

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THERE’S AN OCEAN WHERE THERE USED TO BE ICE. The ar­ticle that caught my at­ten­tion was “Stretched Thin on Thin Ice.” It in­cluded the threat­ening sub-title, “With the Arctic melting and northern coast guards strug­gling to keep up, the next dis­aster is a matter of when, not if.” It was written by Robbie Gramer for the For­eign Policy web­site. Al­though un­dated, it ap­peared on Pocket on Au­gust 6, 2020. Here is the gist of Gramer’s piece:

“The winter of 2018 brought new record lows in the ex­tent of sea ice in the Arctic. On one day in Feb­ruary, the amount of sea ice in the Arctic was nearly 500,000 square miles less than the his­toric av­erage, ac­cording to the Nor­we­gian Polar In­sti­tute, a Nor­we­gian gov­ern­ment re­search body that mon­i­tors the region.

‘You don’t see the dif­fer­ences from year to year,’ said Thomas Nilsen, the ed­itor of the Bar­ents Ob­server, an in­de­pen­dent news outlet based in Kirkenes, a re­mote Nor­we­gian town that’s near the north­ern­most tip of the Eu­ro­pean con­ti­nent. ‘But 2013 was the first time that we re­ally started to ask ques­tions about what is going on.’

Nilsen said the changes are get­ting more dra­matic, from melting sea ice to warmer, wetter weather. Coast guards across the north have begun fran­ti­cally pushing their gov­ern­ments for more re­sources, more ships, and more training mis­sions in the Arctic.

It helps that all of the coun­tries in the re­gion face the same problems—even the United States, which pa­trols the wa­ters around Alaska. ‘There’s an ocean where there used to be ice,’ said Ad­miral Charles Ray, the vice com­man­dant of the U.S. Coast Guard and its senior-most ex­pert on the Arctic. ‘Human ac­tivity has there­fore increased.’ ”

To read the ar­ticle in its en­tirety, click HERE.

The photo at the top of this page ac­com­pa­nied the ar­ticle and car­ried a cap­tion: “A fishing boat sails by ice­bergs floating in the Ja­cob­shavn Bay on Au­gust 26, 2007 near the town of Ilulissat, Green­land. Photo by Uriel Sinai / Getty Im­ages.


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