Blog Tags: Arctic Sea Ice
It comes as no surprise that Arctic sea ice melt has a range of ecological and economic consequences, from hastening sea level rise to disrupting food chains. Polar bears, for instance, are having to change their diets from seals, their preferred prey source, to other options like snow geese, while ice melt is unlocking trillions of frozen microplastics into the marine environment.
Ocean Roundup: Polar Bears Turning to Snow Geese for Food, Arctic Sea Ice Found to Absorb CO2, and More
- Researchers say that sea otter populations, who have been slowly rebounding after recovering from near-extinction, did not increase from 2013. This is worrisome to scientists, who say that a lack of food, increased shark attacks, disease, and other factors are keeping them from recovery. SFGate
The latest sea ice data are out, and they aren't pretty. Here’s the latest:
- Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center believe that Arctic sea ice reached its smallest extent for this year on September 9, at 4.33 million square kilometers. If this is the case, the only year since 1979 with less ice was 2007, but they note that if wind conditions change, the area covered by ice may still shrink.
- The University of Washington’s Polar Science Center Arctic ice estimates, which measure volume of ice rather than area, find that this year’s minimum extent is the smallest on record (since 1979), with August sea ice volume at less than half the recorded average.
- NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center has announced that globally this August was the eighth hottest since 1880—and when measuring only land temperatures, August 2011 was the second hottest on record.
The sea ice data in particular are drawing a lot of attention because sea ice maintenance affects weather patterns around the globe, melting ice contributes to warmer oceans and rising sea levels, and unusual ice patterns can wreak havoc on the lives of native humans and animals, particularly polar bears, which can drown, and walruses, which can starve.
Every year the Endangered Species Coalition creates a report that focuses on 10 species facing extinction that are currently listed or being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
This year’s report, It’s Getting Hot Out There: Top Ten Places to Save for Endangered Species, focuses on critical habitats that support endangered species and are themselves threatened by climate change. Shallow water coral reefs and Arctic sea ice, two important habitats that Oceana works hard to protect, were selected as two of the top 10 most important habitats to protect.
- Ocean Roundup: Seagrass Travels via Ocean Currents, Plump Leatherbacks Can Swim More Easily, and More Posted Thu, October 30, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Scientists Call for “Bold” Action on Overfishing, Shipping Company Pleads Guilty to 2013 Molasses Spill, and More Posted Mon, October 27, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Shell Seeks to Extend Arctic Drilling Period, Great Barrier Reef Protection Plan “Inadequate,” and More Posted Wed, October 29, 2014
- CEO NOTE: Chilean Oil Spill Harms Local Wildlife, Fishing Communities Posted Thu, October 30, 2014
- Federal Government Takes Steps to Better Monitor Bycatch in Southeast and Gulf Fisheries Posted Mon, October 27, 2014