Cold winter fears as Arctic sea ice lost
October 1, 2021 - A smaller than normal extension of Arctic sea ice for this time of year could weaken the polar vortex above the North Pole, unleashing a deep freeze across energy-challenged Europe this winter.
Arctic sea ice extent reached its minimum for the year at 4.72m square kilometres, on Sep 16, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.
This is the 12th lowest in a satellite record stretching back 43 years, the NSIDC says, with the past 15 years seeing the 15 smallest sea ice minima.
Scientists believe reduction of Arctic sea ice allows more heat to escape from the ocean, weakening the polar vortex that contains icy air above the North Pole and causing surges of frigid air to splinter off and drift south.