Related topics: climate change · sea ice

Cracks in Arctic sea ice turn low clouds on and off

The prevailing view has been that more leads are associated with more low-level clouds during winter. But University of Utah atmospheric scientists noticed something strange in their study of these leads: when lead occurrence ...

Sea-ice-free Arctic makes permafrost vulnerable to thawing

Permafrost is ground that remains frozen throughout the year; it covers nearly a quarter of Northern Hemisphere land. The frozen state of permafrost enables it to store large amounts of carbon; about twice as much as in the ...

Russia unveils climate 'adaptation' plan

The Russian government has published a plan to adapt the economy and population to climate change, aiming to mitigate damage but also "use the advantages" of warmer temperatures.

Shedding light in the dark: radar satellites lead the way

Spare a thought this Christmas for researchers hunkered down on their Polarstern icebreaker, adrift in the frozen Arctic Ocean. Subjected to temperatures as low as –45°C and the perpetual darkness of the polar winter, ...

Could we cool the Earth with an ice-free Arctic?

The Arctic region is heating up faster than any other place on Earth, and as more and more sea ice is lost every year, we are already feeling the impacts. IIASA researchers explored strategies for cooling down the oceans ...

Adventurers cross Arctic Ocean on skis despite thinning ice

Two adventurers have successfully crossed the Arctic Ocean on skis after persevering through brutal conditions, briefly running out of food, and struggling to traverse thin ice caused by global warming, their team said on ...

Climate change 'tipping points' too close for comfort

Loading the atmosphere with five million tonnes of CO2 every hour has pushed Earth dangerously close to a no-return threshold, beyond which lies an unlivable hothouse world, top climate scientists have warned.

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Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest, and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea or simply the Arctic Sea, classifying it as one of the mediterranean seas of the Atlantic Ocean. Alternatively, the Arctic Ocean can be seen as the northernmost lobe of the all-encompassing World Ocean.

Almost completely surrounded by Eurasia and North America, the Arctic Ocean is partly covered by sea ice throughout the year (and almost completely in winter). The Arctic Ocean's temperature and salinity vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes; its salinity is the lowest on average of the five major oceans, due to low evaporation, heavy freshwater inflow from rivers and streams, and limited connection and outflow to surrounding oceanic waters with higher salinities. The summer shrinking of the ice has been quoted at 50%. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) use satellite data to provide a daily record of Arctic sea ice cover and the rate of melting compared to an average period and specific past years.

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