Never Before Seen Melting in the Arctic and Antarctica

The Arctic is experiencing the most unprecedented transition in human history. New studies issued this week paint one of the bleakest pictures of the dramatic warming in the Arctic and Antarctica. Alaskan scientists described never-before-seen melting, including permafrost that has yet to refreeze and massive wildlife die-offs.

NOAA, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its Arctic report, finding this year to be the second warmest on record in the Arctic with record low winter sea ice in parts of the region.

The NOAA report said, “Continued warming of the Arctic atmosphere and ocean are driving broad change in the environmental system in predicted, and, also, unexpected ways.”

One problem was record low sea ice in the Bering Sea. At the beginning of the year, the Bering Sea had lost an area of ice the size of Utah. Researchers are also alarmed by what’s happening to the permafrost, spots that used to freeze in January, never froze this year.

A study released by NASA found unusual melting in areas of Antarctica that scientists once thought were stable. This is the first time this kind of ice loss has been seen in these areas. Four glaciers lost nine feet of thickness in the last decade. Loss of ice sheets in Antarctica could lead to a massive rise in sea level. 



Photo: “Massive Antarctic Iceberg Spotted on NASA IceBridge Flight” by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is licensed under CC BY 2.0