Surprising loss of sea ice after record-breaking Arctic storm is a mystery to scientists

In early 2022, the Arctic experienced its strongest cyclone on record, with winds reaching 100 km/h (62 mph). Although storms are not uncommon in the Arctic, this one caused a large loss of sea ice that surprised Arctic researchers.

In the Arctic, sea ice, frozen seawater that floats above the ocean in the polar regions, reaches its greatest coverage in March and what is thought to be its thickest maximum in April, the researchers told Live Science. But as sea ice accumulated this year, it suffered a major setback. Between January 20 and 28, the storm developed during greenland and traveled northeast into the Barents Sea, where massive waves reached 26 feet (8 meters) in height. Like a wild bronco, those waves bucked sea ​​ice at the edge of an ice pack 6 feet (2 m) from top to bottom, while even larger waves swept 60 miles (100 km) into the center of the pack. Although the weather models accurately predicted the storm’s evolution, the sea ice models did not predict how much the storm would affect the thickness of the ice.

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