Bering Sea ice receding alarmingly: report

Credit: TomoNews US
Published on May 17, 2019 - Duration: 01:54s

Bering Sea ice receding alarmingly: report

BERING SEA — The Bering Sea's ice is vanishing, endangering surrounding indigenous communities, sealife and fisheries, reports ScienceMag.

The late winter sea ice of the Bering Sea is falling to some of the lowest levels in the past 40 years.

The report states that around March every year, sea ice usually stretches out from the south of the Bering Sea and reaches the areas surrounding the Aleutian Islands.

But in 2018 it only stretched as far as Alaska.

The rapid ice loss could be due to changes in wind direction and water temperature.

One of the explanations offered by ScienceMag is that climate change is altering the polar jet stream, bringing warmer winds to the Bering Sea and causing the ice to recede.

Oceanographer Seth Danielson told ScienceMag the ice loss could also be a result of rising temperatures in the Bering Sea.

Data gathered in early 2018 shows the sea was 2 degrees Celsius warmer than usual.

This increase in temperature delays ice formation by three weeks.

The ice formation and high temperatures could have also been affected by low ice coverage in 2017, which might have allowed the sea ice to absorb more heat.

The lack of sea ice in 2018 also affected local ecosystems and animal life.

Populations of zooplankton, algae, fish, and seabirds have already been affected.

These shifts in temperature could also affect American fisheries located in the southeastern Bering Sea.

If the sea ice continues to recede, fish factories in the north could be too far from fishing grounds, making it more expensive to haul fish.

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