On Alaska’s West Coast, the feeble April sun is shining this week on a fresh spot of open water. The sea ice found there for ages every spring is gone.
Ice in the Bering Sea, the narrow body of water between Russia and Alaska, has dropped to its lowest springtime level since at least 1850. In all that time, no other year has come close. After a winter filled with unusually high temperatures, sea ice now sits at less than 10 percent of what could previously be considered “normal”.
“We’ve fallen off a cliff,” said Rick Thoman, a climatologist at the National Weather Service in Alaska, in a tweet.