Arctic sea ice extent is at an all-time low

Arctic sea ice extent has peaked at 14.62 million square kilometers, a total area that is about 1.03 million square kilometers below the 1981-2010 average maximum. This happened on April 6, 2023

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Arctic sea ice extent is at an all-time low

Arctic sea ice extent has peaked at 14.62 million square kilometers, a total area that is about 1.03 million square kilometers below the 1981-2010 average maximum. This happened on April 6, 2023. A study, published in the journal Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Research, explained: "After the 2022 minimum, severe heatwaves in mid-March brought numerous warm anomalies to East Anrctic and coastal areas, which maintained the extension ice well below standard for March.

Since late May, the pace of seasonal ice growth has slowed dramatically, likely in part due to strong winds that carried warm air and pushed the ice south. June, July and August were associated with the lowest sea ice levels for three consecutive months.

Since October, seasonal ice melt has been well above usual, continuing into February." A study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, conducted by scientists at the Arctic Research Center at the University of Hokkaido, did other important revelations.

The team, led by Irene D. Alabia, evaluated the effects of the increase in temperatures observed in the polar regions on the behavior of marine predators. This year's late-winter extent was the fifth lowest since National Snow and Ice Data Center records began 45 years ago.

Since the high on March 6, the extent has decreased by about 200,000 square kilometers, mainly in the Labrador Sea, the Gulf of San Lorenzo and the Barents Sea. According to the researchers, climate change and warming waters have favored the expansion of predators, which may have caused alterations in the potential associations between species.

In fact, overlapping habitats may have forced marine communities to share otherwise separate spaces. This was highlighted by a study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, conducted by scientists at the Arctic Research Center at the University of Hokkaido.

The team, led by Irene D. Alabia, evaluated the effects of the increase in temperatures observed in the polar regions on the behavior of marine predators. They said: "Our findings highlight that changes in climate and species richness in the Arctic vary across several large marine areas.

This information could be highly relevant to strengthening conservation and management efforts, for sustainable use of resources at Arctic warming front."