This is a problem because the oldest and thickest sea ice has shrunk by 95 percent compared to 30 years ago. In 1985, about one-sixth of the Arctic sea ice was thick, multi-year ice, and now maybe one hundredth, Perovich said.
The University of Alaska, Fairbanks, a marine mammal biologist, Gay Sheffield not only studies the record low level of ice, but also lives it daily in Nome, far to the north of the Bering Sea.
“I left Nome, and in December we had open water,” Sheffield said at the conference of the American Geophysical Union in Washington. "It affects us very much."
“The release of this area from ice leads to serious environmental changes,” said Sheffield, adding that “the death of many species” has occurred in ocean life. According to her, this includes the first spring mass death of seals along the Bering Strait.
Ornithologist George Divoky, who has studied the black guillotics of Cooper Island for 45 years, noted something different this year. In the past, 225 nesting pairs of seabirds came to his island. Last winter there were only 85 pairs, but only 50 eggs laid and only 25 had successful hatches. He blamed the lack of winter sea ice.
“It looked like a ghost town,” said Divoky.
Due to warming, especially in summer, the number of caribou and wild reindeer decreased by about 55 percent – from 4.7 million to 2.1 million animals – due to the warming, flies and parasites it brings, said co-author of the tranquil Howard Epstein University of Virginia.
Vladimir Romanovsky, a researcher at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, said that he was alarmed by what had happened to the permafrost, which had been freezing for years. Last year, Romanovsky found 25 places that used to freeze in January, and then in February, but never freeze this year.
Because of the warming in the Arctic, "there is a concentration of algae toxins moving to the north," infecting birds, mammals and mollusks, which is becoming a problem of public health and the economy, "said co-author Karen Frey.
According to Osborne, the warmer Arctic and the melting of sea ice were associated with shifts in the jet stream that led to extreme winter storms in the East last year.
But this is not only the Arctic. NASA's newest space radar, Icesat 2, for the first couple of months found that the Dotson ice shelf in Antarctica since 2003 has lost more than 120 meters in thickness, said radar scientist Ben Smith of the University of Washington.
Another study published by NASA in December found unusual melting in some parts of East Antarctica, which, according to scientists, was stable.
According to NASA scientists Catherine Walker and Alex Gardner, since 2008, four glaciers in Vincennes Bay have lost nine feet of ice thickness.
The loss of ice sheets in Antarctica can lead to a significant rise in sea level.
“We are starting to see changes related to the ocean,” said Gardner. "Believe it or not, but for the first time we see it in this place."