Annapolis, Maryland, and other cities in mid-Atlantic areas will register tidal flooding levels. This is not normal. The Arctic ice is melting; if we allow it, we will raise the ocean level, and the land area will shrink significantly. This year, sea ice covered only 2.8M square miles, which means that the ice has declined by an average of 27000 miles a year since 1979. Studies show that by 2035 there would be no more ice in the Arctic, something we should be ready for. The Arctic sea is warming twice as much as the planet, as 0.75 degrees C of said warming has happened in the last decade. In addition, the ice only lasts 3 or 4 months, which affects the communities and villages beside the Arctic sea. For example, Sarah Aarons, an Iñupiaq climate scientist, says: “We were forced to choose one location for our villages, and most are on the coast. It puts us in a very vulnerable position for sea-level rise, as well as for the timing of sea ice loss.” Nearly all of the native villages in Alaska are at risk of coastal erosion.
The last Ice Area
A study has found that the “last ice area” cannot survive the clime change, even though it is known for its thick layer. During the summer of 2020, it lost 50% of its ice coverage, bringing it to the lowest since the record began. Researches have found that the weather was the reason for such decline. In addition, global warming may be threatening the region more than usual. This suggests trouble for animals that depends on the sea for breeding, hunting, and foraging, as the “last ice area” was considered their last refugee. The “last ice area” spans over 2,000 kilometers from Greenland’s northern coast to the western part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The new study doesn’t state if or when the “last ice area” will melt, but large patches of open water are expected to show.
How does the loss of Arctic ice impact the world?
Food: Crops are being damaged by the unpredictability of the weather. This means high prices for the customer and a threat to the global food system.
Wildlife: With less ice level, either the animals who depend on it die or adapt. This is trouble for polar bears, arctic foxes, snowy owls, and other species.
Permafrost: Permafrost, a ground that is permanently frozen, stores a lot of methane. When this methane evaporates in the sky, it raises global warming. So losing more ice means losing more permafrost, which in turn means increasing the rate of global warming.
How can we save the Arctic?
Little by little, we will have the iceless Arctic if we don’t start somewhere. We could do that by reducing the burning of fossil fuels. When every ton of Co2 is burned, 32 square feet of ice disappears. For example, the US emits around 16 tons of Co2 around the year, which makes every one of us a contributor to the loss of Arctic ice. But if we stop our greenhouse gas production, we could save our ice. Or at least, we could cut it into halves. But we are doing nothing like that. We might get to a summer where is no Arctic ice at all in 2030.
What do researchers say about this?
“The abrupt rise in temperature now being experienced in the Arctic has only been observed during the last ice age. During that time, analyses of ice cores revealed that temperatures over the Greenland Ice Sheet increased several times, between 10 to 12 degrees [18 to 21.6 degrees F], over a 40 to 100-year period,” says Christensen, a coauthor of the study in Nature Climate Change.
“We have looked at the climate models analyzed and assessed by the UN Climate Panel. Only those models based on the worst-case scenario, with the highest carbon dioxide emissions, come close to what our temperature measurements show over the past 40 years, from 1979 to today,” he continues.
“Thus, successfully implementing the necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Paris Agreement is essential in order to ensure a sea-ice packed Arctic year-round.”