Alaskan Sea Ice Just Took a Steep, Unprecedented Dive

This article discusses the impact climate change is having on Arctic sea ice. Weather conditions and a boost from global warming led to the stunning record low ice cover in winter 2018.

The occurrence of these unusual conditions off Alaska this past winter can largely be chalked up to the random weather variations in a chaotic climate system, Bond, Walsh and Thoman all say—but they add that global warming likely amped up the severity of the situation. A study Walsh co-authored in the January Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society found that although The Blob was ushered in by natural variations, without climate change it likely would not have been as intense as it was. And whereas the Bering Sea has had plenty of winters as stormy as this one, the underlying warming trend means such winters can have a much bigger impact on sea-ice formation in today’s climate.

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