Concern over low ice levels in the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea
Studies published Wednesday indicate that ice in the Bering Sea, located in the North Pacific Ocean between Alaska and Russia, has reached its lowest level in 5,500 years. According to AFP, researchers analyzed the vegetation that has accumulated on the uninhabited island of St. Matthew over the past 5,000 years and found a difference in the peat layers of oxygen atoms called isotopes 16 and 18, which are associated with climate change and rainfall.
"It's a small island in the middle of the sea and it's an indicator of what's happening in the ocean and the surrounding atmosphere," said Miriam Jones, a researcher who conducted a study at the University of Alaska and then at the U.S. Biocenter.
Scientists studied a single peat nucleus about 1.45 meters long taken from the island (St. Matthew) in 2012, which represents 5,500 years of accumulation.
"What we've seen recently is unprecedented in the last 5,500 years," wrote Matthew Waller, who co-authored the analysis.
Arctic ice is known to melt in summer and freeze again in winter, but observations from satellites date back only to 1979,
For the Arctic, the rate of winter ice has clearly declined in recent decades in conjunction with global warming and increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In the past decades, the level of ice in the Bering Sea has been fairly stable, with the exception of 2018 and 2019, which has been observed to have a significant reduction in the freezing level.