Winter extended its hold to the Arctic by releasing a curtain of darkness from above the world. But at least part of the Arctic resists its view.
In what has become, unfortunately, a common story, the growth of sea ice slows down in one of the seas of the gate leading to the heart of the Arctic Ocean. The Chukchi Sea currently has sea ice, more reminiscent of summer than early winter, a sign that something is wrong in the waters of the highest latitudes of the globe.
The Chukchi Sea is located between northern Alaska and Russia. This makes it a decisive bridge to the Bering Sea, a place where the sea binds and spreads its ice currents to the south. But this winter so far has seen ice suffer. After falling out in September, the ice in the Chukchi Sea failed to recover. Usually the submergence of temperatures combined with the lack of sunlight causes rapid ice accumulation. This year, however, growth is much slower. Sea ice data squeezed by the University of California, Dr. Irvine's candidate and Arctic Observer Zack Labue indicate that ice coverage is the lowest on record for this time of year.
Sea ice as a whole is at its third lowest level so far recorded for this time of year and well below the two long-term averages. Part of the reason for the slow relationship of growth with this spring and summer is the bloated discontent. Temperatures were unusually high too often. It reached almost 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the Swedish Arctic lightning (which usually requires warm and humid conditions) struck near the North Pole and the northernmost settlement on Earth struck 70 degrees [Fahrenheit]. for the first time ever . It's just the smell of all the ways the Arctic was fucked up this summer (don't even get me started on fires ), but they all point to the culprit that is likely to cause weak sea ice growth: heat and much from him.
The intense heat this summer helped to melt the ice. This year, the minimum Arctic sea ice was the second lowest in the record . This in turn meant darker, open water was available to absorb the sun's rays and heat it. So even now that the sun is setting for much of the Arctic, the last rays of summer are still present in the form of hot (by Arctic standards) waters and hinder the formation of sea ice.
This feedback is one of the hallmarks of climate change. Carbon pollution warms the Arctic twice as fast as the rest of the world, and the system has been rapidly destabilizing in recent years. More abundant fires and melting permafrost release more carbon, which will further accelerate change. In the meantime, sea ice is disappearing and thus more open water will ensure that the region continues to heat up faster than the rest of the world. The vicious cycle put the Arctic on the edge of on the edge of the summit in a more volatile state unrecognizable than the Arctic we know today. If you want to know what the transition might look like, the Chukchi Sea offers quite a lesson right now.