Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is rapidly decreasing. The Arctic ice pack is made up of all the ice that covers the Arctic Ocean. It changes size throughout the year, getting smaller in the spring and summer and getting bigger again during the fall and winter. However, according to a new study by the Snow & Ice National Data Centre, this year has seen the lowest levels of sea ice ever recorded at this time of year.
The water surrounding the Arctic is too hot, and this is making it difficult for the ice to form at its usual speed. This year, the Arctic ice pack is at its seventh-lowest maximum extent since satellite records began in 1978. Scientists say that this is a worrying trend, and we need to monitor the situation more closely.
Lots of animals rely on the ice in the Arctic Ocean for their survival. Polar bears, seals, and walruses use sea ice to hunt for food, rest and give birth. The melting of the ice can also affect the climate. Ice reflects sunlight back into space, which helps keep the polar regions cool. When there is less ice, less sunlight is reflected, causing temperatures to rise. This, in turn, leads to even more melting, which means even less ice – and the cycle continues, having a warming effect on the area.