Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsSea Ice
IN THE NEWS

Sea Ice

FEATURED ARTICLES
SCIENCE
January 15, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Gaps forming in seasonal Arctic sea ice may be creating a toxic conveyor belt, drawing mercury from higher altitudes to rain down on the ice, snow and tundra, according to a new study. The gaps, which come as the region shifts from perennial ice to thinner seasonal ice due to climate change, drive convection currents in the lower atmosphere that cycle mercury and ozone from higher levels toward Earth's surface, where oxidation converts the mercury into a more toxic form, according to the study published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.
ARTICLES BY DATE
SCIENCE
February 27, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
Happy International Polar Bear Day! The polar bear conservation group Polar Bears International, has set aside Feb. 27 as a special day to celebrate those furry white giants of the North, and to remind the public that it is not too late to help them. The struggle for polar bears is that the Arctic sea ice where they live and hunt is shrinking -- and as a result, so are their numbers. A 2007 study from the U.S. Geological Survey found that if the current rate of Arctic-sea-ice loss continues, two-thirds of the world's polar bear population could disappear by the middle of the century.
Advertisement
NATIONAL
December 5, 2012 | By Kenneth R. Weiss, Los Angeles Times
A fast-changing Arctic broke new records for loss of sea ice and spring snow cover this year, as well as the extent of the summertime melt of the Greenland ice sheet, federal scientists reported Wednesday. The latest report about the melting Arctic comes as frustrations flared in Doha, Qatar, over the slow progress at United Nations climate talks to reach a global agreement on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The buildup of the gases is elevating average global temperatures, with the most pronounced changes in the northernmost latitudes.
SCIENCE
January 15, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Gaps forming in seasonal Arctic sea ice may be creating a toxic conveyor belt, drawing mercury from higher altitudes to rain down on the ice, snow and tundra, according to a new study. The gaps, which come as the region shifts from perennial ice to thinner seasonal ice due to climate change, drive convection currents in the lower atmosphere that cycle mercury and ozone from higher levels toward Earth's surface, where oxidation converts the mercury into a more toxic form, according to the study published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.
SCIENCE
August 27, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
The area of floating sea ice in the Arctic has fallen to its lowest size ever observed, researchers said Monday. Moreover, the ice is still shrinking and is not expected to reach its minimum until sometime in September. The average shrinkage of the ice has been increasing steadily since 2007, and researchers attribute the loss to global warming, which is causing warmer temperatures in the region. On Monday, the extent of the Arctic sea ice was 1.58 million miles, which is 27,000 square miles below the previous record set on Sept.
NATIONAL
May 25, 2012 | By Kim Murphy
SEATTLE -- The heaviest polar ice in more than a decade is clinging to the northern coast of Alaska and could postpone the commencement of offshore oil drilling in the Arctic until the beginning of August - a delay of up to two weeks, Shell Alaska officials said Friday. Unveiling the newly refurbished ice-class drilling rig that is poised to commence plumbing two exploratory wells this summer in the Beaufort Sea, Shell executives  said the unusually robust sea ice would further narrow what already is a tight window for operations in a $4-billion program designed to measure the extent of what could be the United States' most important new inventory of oil and gas. Shell has pledged to end its first season of exploratory drilling by Oct. 31 in the Beaufort Sea and 38 days earlier in the more remote Chukchi Sea to remain within the relatively ice-free summer season.
NATIONAL
October 23, 2009 | Kim Murphy
In what would be the largest habitat zone ever established in the U.S. to protect a species from extinction, the federal government today proposed designating 200,541 square miles on the coast of Alaska as critical habitat for polar bears. Officials said the designation is not likely to further slow the pace of oil and gas development, and it crucially would not impose any controls to slow the biggest threat to polar bears, the melting of sea ice as a result of climate change. Those steps are crucial for polar bears but are being addressed separately in Congress through proposals to cap greenhouse gas emissions, said Tom Strickland, assistant Interior secretary for fish, wildlife and parks.
SCIENCE
September 20, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Crucial Arctic sea ice this summer shrank to its second-lowest level on record, scientists said Tuesday. The ice covered 1.74 million square miles, marking a low point for this summer, according to NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. Last summer, the sea ice covered 1.59 million square miles, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1979. Arctic ice always melts in summer and refreezes in winter. But over the years, more of the ice is lost to the sea with less recovered in winter.
NATIONAL
May 1, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Arctic sea ice is melting three times faster than many scientists had projected, U.S. researchers reported just days ahead of the next major international report on climate change. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado in Boulder on Monday said they had concluded, using actual measurements, that Arctic sea ice had declined at an average rate of about 7.8% per decade between 1953 and 2006.
NATIONAL
December 12, 2007 | From the Associated Press
The steady melting of Arctic ice greatly accelerated this summer, a warning sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed a tipping point. One even speculated that summer sea ice would be gone in five years. Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it had been four years earlier, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by the Associated Press.
WORLD
January 4, 2014 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Coast Guard was dispatching a special ice-breaking cutter to help free two ships lodged in the Antarctic, officials announced Saturday. The Polar Star, the Coast Guard's only active heavy polar ice breaker, was being sent to help free the Russian and Chinese vessels from thick bands of ice, officials said. According to a Coast Guard statement, the Polar Star left its home port of Seattle in early December on one of its primary missions, Operation Deep Freeze.
SCIENCE
August 22, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
A three-century record of penguin poop shows that the flightless birds probably thrived during the Little Ice Age, a Chinese research team says. Contrary to some reports that the Adelie penguin fared better in warmer conditions, when sea ice broke up, Earth scientist Zhou-Quing Xie of the University of Science and Technology in Hefei, China, says that from 1490 to 1670, the middle of the so-called Little Ice Age, Adelies thrived on Ross Island off...
OPINION
August 16, 2013 | By Durwood Zaelke and Paul Bledsoe
Climate change presents two distinct problems. The first is linear: A little more warming causes a little more damage. The second is nonlinear: A little more warming pushes some part of the climate system past a tipping point and the damage becomes catastrophic. We need smart climate policies that address both problems, so we can slow incremental damage while also taking out an insurance policy against the growing risk of catastrophic damage. The Arctic is a prime example of a potential tipping point.
NATIONAL
August 6, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - Last year was one of the 10 hottest since global average temperatures have been recorded, according to an assessment of worldwide climate trends by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The State of the Climate in 2012," released Tuesday, paints a sobering portrait of vast swaths of the planet transformed by rising temperatures. Arctic sea ice reached record lows during the summer thaw. In Greenland, about 97% of its ice sheet melted in the summer, far greater than in years past.
SCIENCE
June 14, 2013 | By Monte Morin
It's called calving, and it occurs when enormous chunks of ice burst free from glaciers or floating ice shelves and drop into the sea with an explosive, heart-stopping crash. This process, which produces icebergs, has long been viewed as the primary mechanism for ice loss along the continent of Antarctica. Now however, scientists say calving is only half the story. In what is being described as the first comprehensive survey of all Antarctic ice shelves, a study to be published Friday in the journal Science reports that 55% of the ice loss is due to melting at the base of these vast ice sheets.
SCIENCE
March 26, 2013 | By Monte Morin
Anyone forced to shovel their car out of a snowbank this winter might wonder just how it is a blizzard can occur in a warming climate. The answer, climate scientists say, may have to do with record sea ice losses in the Arctic. At a Tuesday news conference, several researchers said that warming conditions in the Arctic may be weakening jet stream currents and causing extreme weather systems to linger in northern mid-latitudes. "Ironically ... as the ice pack retreats and the Arctic heats up, there's a counteracting tendency in middle latitudes for colder winters, as well as hotter summers," said Stephen Vavrus, senior scientist at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin.
NEWS
August 31, 2002 | From Times staff and wire reports
The discovery of a large rookery of emperor penguins in Antarctica has raised hopes that the birds were not disastrously affected by a huge iceberg last year. The appearance in the Ross Sea of an iceberg the size of Jamaica and an increase in sea ice made it almost impossible for the birds to find food, causing the deaths of thousands of penguin chicks. But researchers on a U.S.
SCIENCE
August 30, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has reached its second lowest level in nearly 30 years, according to new satellite measurements released this week. The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that sea ice in the Arctic now covers about 2.03 million square miles. The lowest point since satellite measurements began in 1979 was 1.65 million square miles set last September. With about three weeks left in the Arctic summer, this year could wind up breaking that record, according to scientists.
SCIENCE
March 4, 2013 | Monte Morin
Loss of sea ice due to global warming could open new seasonal shipping lanes through the Arctic Ocean by midcentury, sharply reducing transit times and opening a Pandora's box of safety, environmental and legal issues, according to scientists. In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Plus, researchers estimated that new shipping lanes linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are likely to open between 2040 and 2059. The lanes would not be open year-round, however, and would likely be restricted to late summer, when ice cover is lowest.
NATIONAL
March 1, 2013 | By Kim Murphy
SEATTLE - The federal law listing polar bears as a threatened species was upheld Friday by a federal appeals court, which rejected arguments that it is wrong to impose far-ranging and possibly costly protections for a species that remains fairly abundant in many regions of the Arctic. Concluding that attacks on the listing “amount to nothing more than competing views on policy and science,” the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2008 decision to protect the animals because the dramatic loss of sea ice leaves them likely to become in danger of extinction.
Los Angeles Times Articles
|