Sikuliaq makes way through sea ice off the North Alaska coast

Sikuliaq makes way through sea ice off the North Alaska coast

Science

Sikuliaq is the US research vehicle which was seen breaking through thick ice. The thickness was approx 2.5 feet, which is roughly 0.76 meters. This took place in the Chukchi sea, which is on the northwest coast of Alaska. In early November, the Chukchi sea was recorded at its lowest level by researchers, claims Rick Thoman. Thoman is a climate expert at the University of Alaska and a former weather forecaster. The researchers from the University of Washington boarded the 261 foot (79.5 meters) ship from Nome on 7th November. The ship crossed the Bering strait to record multiple site’s observations, which will include Utqiagvik, situated in the northmost part of America. The waves are to be studied by the researchers along the Alaska coastline.

The people on the coast often express discomfort regarding low ice, as the ice acts as a sea wall and preventing land erosion. The sea ice acts as a remarkable feature of the Chukchi Sea and the Bering seas. The layer beneath the ice, i.e., the salty cold water helps in keeping the Arctic species, and the commercial fish like the walleye Pollock separated from each other. Now, coming to the wildlife, polar bears consider the sea ice as their prime habitat, and the females take it as their safe space to give birth. The sea ice also acts as a resting place for the female walruses, as it moves towards the Bering Strait.

For the formation of sea ice, the temperature of the ocean needs to be -1.8C, which is also the freezing point for saltwater. The ice in the Chukchi and Bering seas get ice with the movement of currents in the northernmost waters. However, climate change has resulted in the rise of global temperature, which in turn, has brought summers with a peak temperature in the Chukchi and the Bering Sea. The rise in water temperature is capable of melting ice, which moves to the south from the north.