Global Warming

Almost all the ice covering the Bering Sea has melted

Almost all the ice covering the Bering Sea has melted, scientists have confirmed, throwing communities living around its shores into disarray.

The region’s ice cover normally persists for at least another month, and this year it has vanished earlier than any other year except 2017.

Located in the northern Pacific Ocean between Alaska and Russia, the Bering Sea is experiencing the brunt of climate change and has already drawn attention this year for unprecedented levels of winter melting. In February, soaring Arctic temperatures led to around half the region’s ice disappearing in the space of two weeks. This trend has continued into spring, and scientists have confirmed that by the end of April just 10 per cent of normal ice levels remained.

A report released by the International Arctic Research Centre at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has outlined the real-world effects of these stunning environmental changes on the many communities that inhabit the Bering Sea region. The low sea ice is already impacting the lives and livelihoods of people in western Alaska coastal communities by restricting hunting and fishing, which are the mainstays of the economies of these communities. The lack of sea ice in recent months has exposed these communities to the elements, as it normally acts as a buttress against extreme weather events.

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