By Philip Steinberg, Professor of Political Geography, Durham University and Berit Kristoffersen, Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, UiT – The Arctic University of Norway
Photo courtesy of US National Snow and Ice Data Center, http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2012/09/Figure4b.png
Drawing chaotic natures onto mobile seascapes
Amidst a steady stream of news stories announcing record-setting lows in sea ice extent, our recent publication in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers asks a question that is fundamental to efforts to understand and manage our changing planet: What is sea ice?
Sea ice is never simply frozen sea water. It exists amidst dynamic processes of freezing, melting, and brine rejection; it supports complex ecosystems of primary algal production; its edge (where sea ice extent meets open water) is never clearly defined; and because that edge is perpetually moving it can never easily be mapped. Yet in spite of, or perhaps because of, sea ice’s indeterminacy…
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