5 March 2018
Earth science community is all watching the Arctic sea ice right now. We are very close to the winter maximum extent, and it may very well be the lowest on record.
The ice has grown slowly due to the incredibly warm temperatures across the region compared to the average. Look how warm the entire Arctic was on 25 February.
There seems to be little chance of the ice increasing much and I say this because the global models are showing unusually warm temperatures returning near Greenland with normal temps. in the Bering Sea.
When talking about sea ice, you need to consider not just the extent but also how thick it is. This new paper by Zack Labe looks at how fast the ice is thinning, and it looks to be less than 0.5 meters in mid-September around the end of this century if carbon emission remain very high.
If you want to know what is happening in the Arctic, then Zack is someone you should follow on Twitter. Just how that will impact our weather patterns is the subject of intense research right now, and the loss of ice may be causing more winter cold in parts of Europe and North America. It seems nearly certain now that our children and grandchildren will see an Arctic that is far different than at any time in human history. Perhaps, the lesson here is that we should worry more about the surprises and less about what we already know because the surprises are coming.