The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) station chief at Point Barrow, Alaska, reports the lowest Arctic sea ice in 38 years of satellite records.
Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said that the late and faltering formation of sea ice this winter is one of many signs of extraordinary change in the Arctic.
He observed that repeated surges of extremely warm air have stunted the growth of sea ice during fall and winter. With the melt season started, it leaves the Arctic on a very bad footing.
Richard Thoman, a meteorologist for NOAA’s National Weather Service Alaska Region said “What’s happening in the Arctic isn’t staying in the Arctic. Profound changes are coming to [Alaska’s] interior as well.”
Said Serreze, “We knew the Arctic would be the place we’d see the effects of climate change first, but what’s happened over the last couple of years has rattled the science community to its core. Things are happening so fast, we’re having trouble keeping up with it. We’ve never seen anything like this before.”