ALASKA, USA -- It may be considered as the most rapidly changing state in the US considering that it has not have sea ice within 150 miles from its shores. This is a conclusion drawn by thorough research conducted by the National Weather Service. A clear picture has been drawn. After what seemed like an Arctic summer with temperatures well above the average, warmer sea waters and a historic heatwave in July, the sea ice that used to float in the waters of Alaska have completely disappeared.
"The Alaskan waters are now ice-free," said Rick Thoman, a specialist in climate conditions from the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy.
"This is definitely an extreme year -- even more so because of the recent changes in the Arctic," noted by Walt Meier, a senior research scientist from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
The continuous melting conditions in the Arctic has caused the melting of the ice in the Alaskan coast. This became more notable during the 2017 melt season, but it never came this early in the past. "It has been cleared earlier than it has been for years," said Thoman.
The Arctic sea ice has been observed and recorded to always have been in the border of what is record low throughout the whole of summer. Jeremy Mathis, an Arctic researcher and currently board director of the National Academies of Sciences, expressed his concern during an interview with Mashable early this June.
"I am losing the ability to translate and communicate the magnitude of change that is happening in the Arctic circle," he noted.
He pointed out that the sea levels were at their lowest point based on the satellite records within that given period. "I am running out of adjectives to describe the great change that we are seeing today," he added.
Even during the winter, it has become an open ocean because it was nearly free of ice. Normally, the Bering Sea, will be covered in ice come early March. It is not normal for winter to have this much open water. "It should have been covered in ice," said Meier.
A fundamental problem in most of the sea ice in Alaska and those in the Arctic region is that they are young. The older, thicker ice have been melted away by the warming ocean and rising air temperatures. Only the thin, rather vulnerable ice sheets have remained.
"The loss of the older ice is really a huge influencer in this situation," said Thoman. "The young ice is much more susceptible to the vagaries of the weather."