Decline in Arctic Sea Ice Climate change has caused A DRASTIC DECLINE IN THE SEA ICE IN THE ARCTIC.

Glossary

Unprecedented: The word unprecedented means never done or known before; so this rate of change the arctic is going through has not been seen before.

Wind Turbine: A wind turbine is a large wheel that is rotated by the wind to generate electricity and can be used to help bring back sea ice in the Arctic.

Anthropogenic: This is the pollution of the environment caused by human activity and this can lead to climate change.

Permafrost: Frozen soil rock or sediment that has been frozen for two years usually on areas not covered in ice

World Wildlife Fund: An organization whose main goal is to work towards the conservation of nature

Geoengineering: The manipulation of an environmental process in order to counteract global warming

Q: What effect does Climate Change have on the Arctic?

While climate change can cause many problems in the arctic the major effect that climate change has on the arctic is changes in the Arctic’s temperature. In fact, as the University of Manchester states in their article, “the Arctic Ocean is undergoing unprecedented rates of environmental change, warming faster than any other ocean region. Sea ice is declining by 10% per decade and causing open water regions to expand.” Climate change is indeed causing more warm temperature and that warm temperature can cause a lot harm not only to the Arctic but also to the rest of the world. As a matter of fact, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the arctic region acts like a refrigerator to the world by sending off heat to space and cooling the rest of the world, so when the climate is changing in the arctic it could affect the rest of the world. While climate change is continuously causing a decline in the snow and sea ice, a large amount of it is already gone.

Most of the Arctic in this picture is covered by water with a small percentage of ice.

Q: How fast is Arctic sea ice melting?

Although there is no hard evidence showing how much Arctic sea ice is melting each year it is certain that the ice is melting at an alarming rate. In fact, according to Ian Johnston Environment Correspondent for Independent, In around 100,000 years experts believe the Arctic could indeed for the first time be ice free. This is to show that a little bit of ice melt each year can add up and eventually there will be no more ice in the Arctic at all. This may just seem like a problem caused by the environment itself but it all connects back to the daily dose of pollutants we put into our environment. As Time Magazine says in their article “Here’s How Much Arctic Sea Ice You Melt Each Year, that one metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions melts three square meters of arctic sea ice. They then stated that “The average American emits about 16 metric tons of the pollutant annually, according to World Bank data. That means the average American melts nearly 50 square meters each year.” It is easy to see just how fast this arctic sea ice is melting and how much we contribute to it; but the real question is how does this sea ice loss affect the arctic.

The Arctic is almost completely free of Ice
An example of an animal that could be affected by ice loss in Arctic: Penguins.

Q: How does Ice loss affect the Arctic and its wildlife?

With climate change causing a decline in the arctic ice it is badly damaging the arctic and its wildlife. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “[Due to arctic ice loss] We are likely to see more forest fires and storm damage to coastal communities in the Arctic.” This is the case because the arctic is getting warmer temperature than it is used to causing more natural disasters to occur in the arctic. Not only is the arctic environment being affected by this climate change but it is also affecting the wildlife in the arctic. As a matter of fact Holly Zynda from Weather Underground talks about studies that predict that over the next 50 years there could be a decline in the polar bear population of as much as 30%. We can see just how much this ice loss is affecting the arctic and it makes us wonder if there a way to bring back the ice the arctic has lost and replenish the arctic.

Other animals such as polar bears, arctic foxes and seals can also be affected by ice loss.

Q: Is there a way to bring back the ice?

As there is very little ice left in the arctic the question is whether or not we can bring it back. The answer to that question is maybe. Environment Correspondent Ian Johnston talks of the geoengineering process wind turbines being an effective solution to counteract the sea ice that was lost. These wind turbines will work by using wind power to pump the water from underneath the existing ice in the arctic to bring it up to the surface where it then would be able to freeze. After figuring out what these wind turbines will do for the arctic the next step would be to figure out how much water would need to be brought to the surface in order to replenish the arctic. In their article Arizona State University states that, “1.4 meters of seawater pumped to the frigid surface during the long Arctic winter night lets it freeze more readily and produces an additional 1 meter of ice in a single winter.” This shows that Arizona State University finds that the wind turbines will have to bring 1.4 meters of seawater to the surface to bring 1 meter of ice to the arctic. Most people would see this as a good solution to the sea ice problem, but is there any drawbacks to the use of wind turbines?

A wind turbine being used in the arctic to bring back the ice.

Q: Are there any drawbacks to the use of a wind turbine?

When it comes to the use of wind turbines in the Arctic there are some drawbacks to be considered. One of which is the harsh weather conditions of the Arctic. In fact the Nordic Wind Energy Center states, “Arctic regions has good resources of wind energy, but harsh weather conditions in arctic regions is a major hindrance in proper use of wind energy.” This means that where the Arctic does have a good source of wind energy to support the wind turbines, the harsh weather could hinder the whole process of the wind turbine. Not only would the harsh weather affect the process of the wind turbine but it may also affect the wind turbine itself. Antoine Lacroix and Dr. James F. Manwell from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst talks of the issues of the use of wind turbines in the Arctic and how one of those issues to be in consideration of is the impact that the low temperature of the Arctic has on the materials of the wind turbine. In the end, the wind turbines can be a possible solution the sea ice loss in the Arctic but there are some some drawbacks to consider with the use of these wind turbines in the Arctic.

The Arctic sea ice is very thin and has melted a lot.

Credits:

Created with images by lwpkommunikacio - "Wildest Arctic" • Barni1 - "icebergs sea ice" • werner22brigitte - "magellanic penguin spheniscus magellanicus bird" • lwpkommunikacio - "Wildest Arctic" • diapicard - "arctic fox mammal fox" • werner22brigitte - "seal resting animal" • tpsdave - "norway fox arctic" • USFWS Endangered Species - "Threatened polar bear (Ursus maritimus)" • NASA Goddard Photo and Video - "U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy in the Beaufort Sea"

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