Ice in the Bering Sea in 2018 and 2019 decreased to the minimum amount in the last 5.5 thousand years. This became known from the data of the US Geological Survey.
Scientists note that sea ice showed “signs of decline” two years ago. For example, in February 2018 and 2019, this figure was 60-70% lower than the 1979-2017 average for the period from February to May. However, the researchers then suggested that this may be due to abnormal short-term atmospheric conditions.
The authors of the new study suggest that anthropogenic climate change is also contributing to a decrease in the ice cover of the Bering Sea in winter. The observations, by geologist Miriam Jones of the US Geological Survey, are published in Science Advances.
In order to come to such conclusions, scientists have reconstructed the climate of the last 5.5 thousand years in the region and followed how the ice retreated and advanced in the Bering Sea. It turned out that in the winter of 2018 and 2019, the area of ice was minimal for all this time, and the ice deposits themselves reacted very strongly to changes in the level of lighting and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
According to their theory, the reduction in the ice area is associated not with short-term anomalous phenomena, but with global warming. At the same time, a decrease in the ice cover will only accelerate the melting of ice – in this case, the sea surface will absorb more heat and sunlight.
“While there was a general trend towards shrinking sea ice prior to anthropogenic warming, the recent increase in human-generated greenhouse gases has exacerbated this trend. And this is not very good news for the residents of the region, ”the scientists note.