The last 15 years have brought some of the lowest sea ice levels since records started on sea ice in 1978. Melting sea ice is not only causing sea level rise but it’s also warming our air and oceans.
Checkout the graphic below and you can see the benefit of sea ice. When sea ice coverage is large, sea ice helps to reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere keeping earth cooler.
But as you can see in the image below, when sea ice is melting or gone, earth absorbs more of the sunlight continually warming the ocean and air. This all contributing to a rise in the global temperature.
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Besides causing warming there are other impacts that happen as well. There’s delayed ice growth in the Fall and Winter, the global ocean circulation is disrupted impacting our ecosystems and Bay Area storms may also become warmer. This means a higher chance for warmer atmospheric rivers and less Sierra snow.
You can find out more about our changing climate and all of our stories in this link.