Alaska’s freakish warming spells have been about 20F higher than normal. The consequence has been a dramatic and surprising drop in Alaskan sea ice. While most of the planet is experiencing worrisome heating of a few degrees, Alaska and the Arctic have warmed so much that the sea ice has dropped from typically 300,000 square kilometers 100 years ago to 270,000 in the last 30 years to a drop below 100,000 square kilometers now. That exceeds the previous record set in 2001 that was about 150,000 square kilometers. This event may be the result of a warming event in the Pacific a few years ago. Whatever the cause, Alaska’s seas are warming much more rapidly than most of the planet, with sea ice dropping by about 75% in 100 years. Environments and coastal communities are threatened as a result. The event acts as a reminder that averages don’t describe the extremes.
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