Chart of Arctic Sea Ice Extent
Satellite based records of Arctic sea ice began in 1978. By late October of 2020, the main nursery of Arctic sea ice in Siberia had yet to start freezing. The late freeze could amplify feedbacks that cause more decline of sea ice. Less sea ice means less of a white area to reflect the sun’s heat back into space. When ice forms late in Siberia, it could be thinner and more likely to melt sooner as it drifts westward. This could mean fewer nutrients for Arctic plankton, which will then have a reduced capacity to draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
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