The Disturbing Truth About Climate Change in the Arctic

by Darthravax on September 6, 2017 - 5:49pm

Writen by: Kevin Constantineau, Eric Li, Xavier Bradley, Laurent Voisard

In the Arctic, climate change is happening faster than in any other region in the world. It has already lost 50% of its total ice already it could very well be gone soon if we don’t do anything about it. It is very easy for the Artic to melt away as global warming is going under a snowball effect because of feedback loops. Feedback loops would include the melting of the ice due to the heat which then exposes dark rock and water. Both of these substances retain much more heat than ice does leading to an even faster warming of the planet which then leads to an even faster melting of the ice. This keeps going around and around until the ice is melting very quickly. Other feedback loops include the melting of the permafrost and the heating up of the ocean. The melting of the ice creates a rise in the sea level which will submerge coastal cities and small islands. Another consequence of the melting Arctic is the potential to stop the Gulf Stream entirely. The golf stream consists of fresh waters from the south getting warmed up around the Gulf of Mexico which then moves upwards heating up Europe and cooling back down when it passes through the Arctic. The melting of this ice will cause this current to stop since colder water moves slower. Because of this, Europe will experience colder temperatures. Since the oceans are cooler near the Arctic, acidification happens twice as fast leading to a faster destruction of the corals.

As the Arctic ice melts down, it is becoming very hard for the polar bear and the fox to find areas to rest and hunt. Polar bears and foxes are used to hunting on land and the decreasing amount of that confines them to a smaller hunting area. Because of this, the polar bears don’t weigh as much as they used to. They simply can’t eat as much and aren’t as healthy. The caribou and the reindeer are also having trouble finding food as the climate change has changed the vegetation in the arctic. The conditions simply aren’t favorable for the plants that used to live there. Finally, the walrus’ have lost a lot of their reproductive areas which are on ice. Leading to a drop in population. The increase volume of water leads to an increase in fish population because they, as opposed to the polar bear, are gaining lots of space where they can thrive. Somewhat similar to the walrus, seals need to give birth on ice and as that area gets smaller it is harder and harder for them to find areas to reproduce.

 

Sources

http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/arctic/what_we_do/climate/

https://www.greenfacts.org/en/arctic-climate-change/

https://www.livescience.com/26273-gulf-stream.html

http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1986010,00.html

Comments

I agree, it's indeed disturbing to see the pace at which the arctic is melting away. So many negative consequences appear because of the north pole melting away and we should all be aware and alert of it since it'll affect us worldwide. We shouldn't just think that we can show a blind eye to the topic and that everything will continue forever. Neither should we think that it'll be far away in the future and simply pass the baton. Because of the ice melting, just like you said, many places will find themselves underwater and the oceans temperatures won't be regulated by the Arctic anymore. Many species of animals will find themselves endangered without the habitat they're used to. There are so many consequences global warming can create and we should all pay attention to our environment. I believe you did a really good job to show what the warming of such a key location can trigger upon the whole world.