Sea Ice Hanging Tight
The retreat of Arctic sea ice in 2017 has so far been less dramatic than last year, thanks to variable weather across the Arctic.
As Nunatsiaq News reports, the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, predicts that this year will see sea ice decline to its sixth-lowest extent, compared against 38 years of satellite records. In 2016, Arctic sea ice reached its second-lowest extent.
For the month of July, sea ice reached its fifth-lowest extent. While temperatures were above average in Alaska, they dipped lower than average over Greenland and eastern Siberia. And while heavy ice loss tends to be accompanied by high-pressure zones, this past month saw low-pressure zones sit over the North Pole and Canada’s High Arctic islands.
It’s a Gas
Norway’s Statoil has so far had a disappointing season drilling in the Barents Sea. Hoping to discover large oil deposits, they instead largely found natural gas. But as MarineLink reports, they are about to start drilling at this year’s most promising prospect.
The new prospect is Korpfjell, which Statoil hopes will yield the equivalent of more than 250 million barrels of oil. Sweden’s Lundin Petroleum, a partner in the license, expects the site to yield four times that amount. By comparison, Statoil’s Kayak well, drilled in June, proved to have only between 25 and 50 million barrels of oil – too small to be worth developing.
Fire and Ice
Unusual wildfires have broken out this week in Greenland. As the BBC reports, experts believe the fire burning northeast of Sisimiut is being fed by dried-out peaty soil, rather than shrubs or mosses.
Melting permafrost is believed to have helped create these conditions. While so-called soil fires have been reported before in Greenland, it’s unusual for them to reach this size. Police are asking hikers and tourists to stay away.
- Washington Post: The Arctic’s Fabled Passage Is Opening Up. This Is What It Looks Like
- High North News: I Will Prove That It Is Cool to Be Saami
- Breaking Defense: Is the Arctic the Next South China Sea? Not Likely
- Yukon News: Yukon Communities Grapple With Bear Boom
- Eye on the Arctic: Ice-Blog: Greenland on the Horizon