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We’ve reached another dangerous climate milestone: for the first time in recorded history, it’s late October and there is no Arctic in Siberia’s Laptev sea. The seasonal sea ice usually melts in the summer and reforms by this time. These ice-free waters put Arctic sea ice at its lowest point, with water temperatures 5 degrees Celsius above average.
Why This Matters: The lack of sea ice right now has plenty of knock-on effects. Any ice that freezes now won’t have as much time to thicken, meaning that it’ll melt more quickly next spring as temperatures rise again. And the Laptev Sea specifically is important because it’s the Arctic’s ice nursery: ice that forms here will float out and help other ice packs form. Without the nursery ice, other ice may not form either.
Less ice means higher seas, a disruption of polar ecosystems, and even faster warming with less of a white sheet of ice to reflect the sun’s heat.
“Without a systematic reduction in greenhouse gases, the likelihood of our first ‘ice-free’ summer will continue to increase by the mid-21st century,” Zachary Labe, a postdoctoral researcher at Colorado State University, told the Guardian.
A Global Meltdown: It’s not just the Siberian Arctic losing its sea ice. This summer, the last fully intact ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic collapsed. Glacier National Park in Montana now has fewer than 30 glaciers, a far cry from the estimated 150 when President Taft created the park not much more than 100 years ago.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Contributing Writer Tucson is one of the fastest-warming cities in the country. Right now, it’s coming off of a record-breaking September for heat and drought. The city declared a climate emergency earlier this year and set a goal of becoming carbon neutral in the next 10 years. As part of hitting […]
As National Geographic recently reported, on Friday new findings from the most comprehensive scientific expedition to Mt. Everest (known locally as Sagarmatha and Chomolangma) in history were released in the journal One Earth. This new research, part of the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition, sheds crucial information about how climate change […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Contributing Writer Collectively, the Great Lakes are the world’s largest freshwater system. They provide drinking water, food, even the fresh air we breathe. The five lakes are “arguably the continent’s most precious resource,” National Geographic writes in the magazine’s December cover story. And they’re in trouble. Toxic chemicals from agriculture, invasive […]
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