Continuing the pattern established in January, ice conditions differed greatly between the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the Arctic. On the Atlantic side, especially in the Barents Sea, air temperatures were higher than average and ice extent was unusually low. Air temperatures over the Laptev, Kara and Barents seas ranged from 4 to 8 degrees Celsius above average.
On average, the Barents Sea has 865,000 square kilometers of ice for the month of February. This year there were only 401,000 square kilometers of ice in that region, the lowest recorded in the satellite data record, the National Snow & Ice Data Center writes.
In contrast, on the Pacific side, February ice extent in the Bering Sea was the second highest in the satellite record, paired with air temperatures that were 3 to 5 degrees Celsius below average.
Sea ice extent in late winter can go up and down very quickly, getting pushed together or dispersed by strong winds. Ice extent usually reaches its annual maximum sometime in late February or March, but the exact date varies widely from year to year.
Also further to the East in the Arctic ice conditions are very unusual this year. The Kara Sea to the East of Novaya Zemlya was completely ice-free in February, as BarentsObserver reported.
A recent NASA-study shows that the oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is disappearing at a faster rate than the younger and thinner ice at the edges of the Arctic Ocean’s floating ice cap. The shows that multi-year ice has diminished with each passing winter over the last three decades with a rate of -15.1 percent per decade.
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.