Climate implications of changing Arctic sea ice



Straddling the mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland may be best known to the world for its fiery volcanic history, violent earthquakes, and massive jökulhlaups—episodic outbursts of sub-glacial lakes melted by underlying magma. But this poem, written by Matthias Jochumsson in 1888 and titled simply “The Sea Ice” [Jochumsson, 1915] illustrates why the most insidious disruption to the Icelandic people is the havoc wrought by the quiet approach of sea ice. No other natural disaster has brought such cruelty famine, and death. From Jochumsson: “Where is the ocean, where is the bright, free, silvery ocean?… When you [sea ice] appear, the nation and its history are extinguished; then is death, and deep, dark night…”