NASA video captures unusual Beaufort Sea ice breakup

Scientists and ice-watchers are taking note of the way in which the Beaufort Sea is melting this year, as video from NASA shows an unusual - and dramatic - breakup.

Scientist says open water created is larger than any ever seen before in that area

Scientists and ice-watchers are taking note of how the Beaufort Sea is melting this year.

A video on the NASA website shows dramatic satellite pictures of the sea ice breaking.

People who live in the area and those who watch the Arctic are discussing what may have caused this unusual breakup.

Dustin Whalen, a physical scientist for the Department of Natural Resources Canada, said the huge open water area is larger than ever seen before that close to shore.

"I think that the ice will be melting not only from the influx of the warmer river water coming into it but also from the open water being so great that it can then create waves that it can eat away at the ice from the outside. So I expect that the ice in the Beaufort Sea will be clear earlier this year," he said.

Robert Kuptana, a hunter in Ulukhaktok, N.W.T., said he’s worried about how this phenomenon will affect the wildlife in the area.

"It is a concern for the future. Probably in the future it will affect animals. And one of the major effects will take place with the polar bears because they depend on ice to hunt seals," he said.

Meteorologists suspect that because of the record melting of sea ice in 2012, it was easier for wind storms to blow the newly formed ice apart.