Arctic Sea Ice

The midnight sun shines across sea ice along the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, July 23, 2017. A new study Wednesday, March 15, 2023, says the thickness of sea ice dropped sharply in two sudden events about 15 years ago.

Climate change attacked crucial Arctic sea ice thickness in two sudden big gobbles instead of steady nibbling, a new study says.

A little more than 15 years ago, sea ice quickly lost more than half its thickness, becoming weaker, more prone to melting and less likely to recover, according to the study that emphasizes the importance of two big “regime shifts” that changed the complexion of the Arctic.

Those big bites came in 2005 and 2007. Before then, Arctic sea ice was older and misshapen in a way that made it difficult to move out of the region. That helped the polar area act as the globe’s air conditioner even in warmer summers. But now the ice is thinner, younger and easier to push out of the Arctic, putting that crucial cooling system at more risk, the study’s lead author said.

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