Although Arctic-wide warming during the 20th century is well documented, little is known about the response of sea-ice to abrupt warming and it is unclear when the sea-ice decline started. Data coverage in this region is highly restricted, with observation-based satellite data only available since the 1970s, too short to accurately calibrate climate models.
On Wednesday, the Trump Administration proposed creating a new gas-drilling island less than 30 miles from the coast of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The move is the latest in the Trump Administration’s plan to open up and auction off nearly all US waters for offshore drilling. The deal would reverse President Obama’s Arctic drilling ban.
“Microplastic particles were found throughout all cores sampled … It suggests that microplastics are now ubiquitous within the surface waters of the world’s ocean. Nowhere is immune.”
More than five trillion pieces of plastic are estimated floating on the surface of the world’s oceans. It has been claimed that there is now enough plastic to form a permanent layer in the fossil record.
Arctic sea ice has been rapidly declining since satellites first started tracking it in 1979, and according to NASA, roughly 13.3 percent of the ice disappears every decade. Models have projected that manmade global warming would heat the Arctic faster than it would heat more temperate regions, and observation has borne that out. The Arctic is warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the globe, and the first two months of this year both had the lowest levels of sea ice on historical record.
Farther south, the Bering Sea has emerged as a hot spot for warming-water studies — almost literally. Sea-surface temperatures in the Bering reached 14 degrees Celsius last summer (57 degrees Fahrenheit) and were generally 3 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal, scientists reported.
Ted Scambos, the lead scientist at NSIDC, said: “Antarctic sea ice really went down the rabbit hole this time.” His colleague Walt Meier, who also works at Nasa, added: “The Arctic has typically been where the most interest lies, but this month, the Antarctic has flipped the script and it is southern sea ice that is surprising us.”