Articles on sea ice

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Sea ice responds to changes in winds and ocean currents, sometimes with origins thousands of kilometres away. NASA/Nathan Kurtz

Why Antarctica’s sea ice cover is so low (and no, it’s not just about climate change)

Antarctic sea ice cover fell to an all-time low recently and hasn't yet recovered. Why? The initial answers could lie in an unlikely place – the tropics.
A pod of narwhals (Monodon monoceros) in central Baffin Bay. Narwhals are the most vulnerable animals to increased ship traffic in the Arctic Ocean. Kristin Laidre/University of Washington

As Arctic ship traffic increases, narwhals and other unique animals are at risk

Climate change is shrinking Arctic sea ice and opening the region to ship traffic. Whales, seals and other marine mammals could be at risk unless nations adopt rules to protect them.
The northeast edge of the Venable Ice Shelf, near Antarctica’s Allison Peninsula. NASA/John Sonntag

Short-term changes in Antarctica’s ice shelves are key to predicting their long-term fate

Last summer one of Antarctica's floating ice shelves calved an iceberg the size of Delaware – but scientists say other less dramatic changes reveal more about how and why Antarctica is changing.
An Arctic iceberg, pictured in 2015. This year, ice coverage has reached record lows for the early northern winter. AWeith/Wikimedia Commons

Yes, the Arctic’s freakishly warm winter is due to humans’ climate influence

The end of 2016 has brought balmy Arctic temperatures and record low ice extent for the time of year. It's a freak event even by modern standards, and climate models point the finger firmly at humans.
Where the ice meets the sea: Antarctica’s ice shelves play a key role in how fast ice sheets melt. Antarctica image from www.shutterstock.com

Tipping point: how we predict when Antarctica’s melting ice sheets will flood the seas

As the world warms, Antarctica's melting ice will likely reach the point of no return.
In some regions of the Arctic, polar bears will spend their entire lives on sea ice or the ocean. Christopher Michel/flickr

Polar bears unlikely to compensate for ice loss in summer

Could polar bears slip into a hibernation-like state to tough out lean hunting during summers with little sea ice? Sadly, experiment suggests no.
Breaking the ice: while scientists increasingly understand why Antarctic sea ice is growing, it remains tricky to forecast. Australian Antarctic Division

Expanding sea ice is causing headaches for Antarctic stations

Antarctica's sea ice is changing in ways that scientists didn't predict, and is now causing headaches for Antarctic stations.
In the long run all this will be gone. NASA

Why Arctic melting will be erratic in the short term

Arctic sea ice melts each summer, reaching its minimum extent sometime in September, before refreezing through the winter. Over the past 35 years, the September sea ice extent has reduced by about 35…

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