SEA ICE MELT

Canadian Geographic - - CLIMATE CHANGE -

In late Fe­bru­ary 2018, tem­per­a­tures at the North Pole reached an un­prece­dented 2 C — 30 de­grees above nor­mal. The cause? An in­tense storm had in­jected a wave of heat into the Green­land Sea that trick­led through­out the Arc­tic. Since 1980, Arc­tic warm­ing events such as this have been hap­pen­ing more of­ten, and with greater in­ten­sity and du­ra­tion. This is tied to the re­treat and thin­ning of sea ice, shown here, which ex­poses open wa­ter and re­leases heat into the at­mos­phere. For more than a decade, ships have eas­ily nav­i­gated the once fa­mously ice-in­fested south­ern route of the North­west Pas­sage, which is now ice-free in the sum­mer. Ex­perts es­ti­mate that if green­house gases con­tinue to build at their cur­rent rate, Arc­tic sum­mers will be com­pletely ice-free by 2040.

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