Study: How Melting Arctic Ice Could Cook the Tropics

This article discusses how the loss of sea ice from the Arctic Ocean will alter wind patterns and ocean currents, causing changes across the planet.

Every good horror movie needs a sequel, and the follow-up to the real-life 2015 disaster the Blob is coming soon. But this time, the deadly warming in the eastern Pacific Ocean is being produced by the Arctic.

Sea ice is disappearing from the Arctic Ocean, raising the alarm for scientists working in the region. They predict that by the middle of this century, parts of the Arctic Ocean will periodically be entirely ice-free in summer, drastically altering northern marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

But it’s not just the denizens of the Arctic that need to worry about this melting ice: a recent study shows that an ice-free Arctic Ocean could also cause warming across the northern and equatorial Pacific Ocean.

The study, which was conducted using an advanced climate model, shows that within 25 years the temperature from Alaska to Central America could be much warmer than it is now—a condition eerily reminiscent of the Blob, which caused mass carnage of marine life along North America’s Pacific coast from 2013 to 2016. The Blob reduced phytoplankton and zooplankton abundance, and caused mass die-offs of fish, marine mammals, and seabirds.

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