As we all are well aware by now, human actions have caused and are causing immense irreversible damage to nature. Yet another such disaster is happening as the Arctic sea has failed to refreeze according to seasonal changes as all previous years.
The Arctic sea ice experiences seasonal expansion and contraction every year. It melts during summer and refreezes in winter. This is one natural phenomenon that occurs yearly so that the natural order of Earth remains balanced.
However, with harmful global warming that keeps only increasing, the annual melt of the Arctic sea ice has shown a gradual increase over the years. What’s worse, this year, the Arctic’s premier ice nursery in the Laptev Sea has not been able to refreeze. The immensity of the effects this will have on the region and its ecosystem needs not be emphasized. It is gonna be catastrophic. Between 2030 and 2050, it is predicted using the current calculations that the first ice-free Arctic summer will happen.
I’m waiting for the refreeze.
— Zack Labe (@ZLabe) October 24, 2020
How significant do you think this yearly phenomenon is?
Well, a lot! In early winter, ice forms along the northern SIberian coastline. Then, strong winds will blow this ice across the Laptev. This is important because it carries nutrients across the Arctic as it travels, before it finally melts in spring, in the Fram Strait between Svalbard and Greenland.
Here is a visual of the extensive open water north of Siberia… sea ice struggling to form so far this October
[Daily data from 3-km AMSR2 satellite since September 15] pic.twitter.com/h6qsPLepeL
— Zack Labe (@ZLabe) October 22, 2020
What does a delayed freeze mean?
The ice that forms late has less time to thicken, causing it to melt before it reaches the Fram Strait. This results in less nutrients for the plankton throughout the Arctic. This in turn causes a reduction in their capacity to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the greenhouse effect. The end result is higher global temperatures and even less ice.