Sea Ice Meltdown Is Worse Than First Thought
There has been a sharp decline in the sea ice covering the Arctic. That should come as no surprise to most. Except, it seems, to scientists who now say that recent melting is far faster and far greater than previously thought. Researchers have said that previous findings were wrong, and the estimates they had based their predictions on were way too low.
What Does Sea Ice Meltdown Mean
A new study shows that sea ice levels have plummeted and that there’s a likelihood of it being “much worse” than previously imagined.
What does the impact of this mean for future generations? Will we see increased instances of coastal flooding, a change in ocean circulation, or an increase in so-called “killer” storms?
Ice, as it melts, is responsible for sea levels rising around the world. The ocean is taking up more space as the ice cover withdraws, meaning the climate warms that much faster.
Research has shown that melting glaciers are responsible for a 3.2mm rise in sea levels every year.
That’s three times faster than previous predictions based on satellite images taken of the glaciers where polar ice cover melts during summer.
A research team used data covering 40 years and found that at one point there was a 5% reduction in ice every decade. This then sped up to a 7% reduction in ice annually over the last 20 years.
The Arctic is melting faster than expected and scientists have warned that if this continues, sea levels could rise by more than half a metre by 2100.
The authors of the study say this could lead to flooding, coastal erosion and greater storm surges as well as impacting wildlife such as polar bears and seals.
The rapid decline in sea ice has been linked to extreme weather events around the world, such as heat waves and droughts. It also leads to increased storm surges and flooding when the ice melts during storms.
These effects are likely to be felt in the coming decades as we continue to warm up Planet Earth by emitting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Sea Ice and Its Role in Climate Change
Sea ice is formed when seawater freezes. The term sea ice is used interchangeably with “frozen sea” because for all practical purposes, it is the same thing.
It plays an important role in regulating climate change by reflecting sunlight away from Planet Earth’s surface. When it melts, more heat gets absorbed by the ocean, which increases global temperatures further.
Scientists have been studying the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic for decades, but it’s only recently that they’ve had the technology to accurately measure its thickness.
Ice acts like a blanket, keeping the heat in and the cold out. The more ice there is, the more effectively it does this job.
When sea ice melts, it leaves open water that absorbs heat instead of reflecting it back into space. This raises global temperatures and makes Planet Earth less able to regulate its own temperature.
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She said: “If that ice sheet does melt, it holds about three to five metres of global sea level rise, so what happens in Antarctica won’t just stay in Antarctica, it will affect us all.”
She added: “Global sea level is rising quite consistently now, it’s about 3mm to 4mm per year, which doesn’t sound much but that will inundate quite a lot of coastlines around the world.”
In other words, if there’s less sea ice, there will be more warming over time because less sunlight is reflected into space.
Sea ice also plays an important role in Planet Earth’s weather patterns by acting as a barrier between cold winter air and warm summer air masses over the North Pole.
When there’s less sea ice around, those two air masses can mix more easily. This then changes how storms form over northern parts of North America and Eurasia.
The amount of sea ice varies throughout the year, with a maximum in February and a minimum in September.
In recent years, however, there has been less sea ice than usual during the summer months. This has led to concerns about global warming and whether it will continue.
What Does This Mean for The Future of Humanity
What does the phenomenon of melting ice have to do with the future of humanity? More than you would really expect.
Scientists are now starting to point out that the long-term impacts on the environment may be far direr than first predicted for several reasons.
And just one is that melting ice has the potential to drastically impact the world’s ocean levels and weather patterns. In turn, this could cause drastic changes in human society, from climate refugees to water shortages.
There have been many great thinkers who have pondered the question of what effect if any, our actions have on future generations.
Now, there is real-world evidence of our impact. Melting glaciers and seawater are turning oceans more acidic than their natural state for the first time in millions of years.
The consequences to marine life and humanity’s food supply may be catastrophic.
We are in the midst of a mass extinction on Planet Earth. Scientists confirm that in just the past 50 years, as much as half of all species have disappeared.
Extinction is an unfortunate reality that affects both plants and animals. There is a strong correlation between temperature change and extinction.
The globe is rapidly warming due to climate change. Warming has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years. But humans have accelerated it significantly since they began burning fossil fuels some 200 years ago.
Although Planet Earth has gone through several natural heating and cooling cycles, the pace at which we are experiencing global warming is speeding up at an alarming rate.
The Meltdown Puts Our Oceans in Serious Danger
When the average person thinks about climate change, they probably don’t consider what’s happening underneath our oceans. But as it turns out, a lot is going on underneath our oceans that we need to pay attention to.
We can’t just let this happen — we need to act right now to protect our oceans from further damage and keep them healthy for generations to come.
Oceans are under threat from climate change, overfishing and pollution. The sea ice that once covered large parts of Planet Earth has melted away due to warming temperatures.
And it’s darker water that absorbs more heat from the sun, accelerating global warming once again.
The coral reefs across the globe are dying off due to ocean acidification caused by CO2 emissions from cars, power plants and other sources.
As the ice melts on land or at sea around it, heat is released into the ocean water and raises its temperature.
Warmer temperatures make CO2 dissolve faster into the water which is why we’ve seen such rapid increases in ocean acidification over the last few decades as CO2 levels have risen.
The problem is that as that CO2 dissolves, it forms carbonic acid, which makes the water less alkaline. This leads to all kinds of problems for organisms living in the oceans.
Coral reefs are already suffering from bleaching due to higher temperatures and increased acidity. And oysters and other shellfish are becoming more brittle as they lose calcium carbonate.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that global warming could cost us $1 trillion per year by 2030 if we don’t get our act together fast enough.
The Oceans Are More Important Than You Think
The oceans are under threat from climate change, overfishing and pollution. The sea ice that once covered large parts of Planet Earth is melting away due to warming temperatures.
These are just some of the many effects that climate change can have on the sea.
The ocean provides us with oxygen and is the basis for many forms of life on Planet Earth. The mass production of plastic has polluted our waterways to a very unsettling and incredibly large extent.
The oceans have become a dumping ground for millions of tons of plastic debris, chemical pollutants, and other waste materials.
This makes it extremely difficult for marine life to survive as they cannot escape these pollutants.
Plastic waste is one of the biggest problems in our oceans today as it cannot be broken down by nature. They can take hundreds of years to break down into smaller pieces.
But this never happens completely. These tiny pieces remain floating around in huge numbers and can be consumed by marine animals such as fish or birds who mistake them for food particles or algae.
This causes damage to their digestive system and eventually kills them via starvation or poisoning from toxins within the plastic itself.
The amount of plastic floating in our oceans is increasing at an alarming rate. Plastic pollution affects marine animals in several ways:
Entanglement – Plastic bags get caught around their necks or feet, which can lead to suffocation or starvation if not removed quickly enough.
This can also happen with fishing nets and discarded fishing lines, which are often left by the side of the sea when they break or become tangled around something else, such as coral reefs or rocks underwater.
Ingestion – Animals mistake plastic items for food and eat them which can be fatal depending on how much they consume and how long it takes them to digest it all before they realise what it is they’re eating isn’t edible at all!
Melting Ice Is Contributing to Sea Level Rise
If we’re going to deal with climate change, it would be useful to know what’s happening with the ice at the poles.
Despite the polar regions being quite remote from where most of us live, the result of their changes will have a global effect on all of us — and not necessarily in a good way.
Sea levels have been rising steadily over the past 100 years. This is partially because water takes up more space as it warms, but also because more and more ice caps are melting.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that if global warming continues at its current rate, sea levels will rise between 26cm and 82cm by 2100.
However, this is just an estimate. Some scientists believe the IPCC has underestimated the effect of melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, which could increase sea levels by up to 1m by 2100.
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This could lead to serious flooding in coastal areas around the world:
Submerged landscapes – as well as being valuable habitats for wildlife, many coastal communities rely on these areas for their livelihoods.
If they become submerged, these communities will lose their land, their homes, and their sources of income.
Coastal erosion – erosion occurs when waves erode material such as soil or sand from a coastline over time.
It’s most common in areas where there is little protection against storms like rocky coasts or cliffs with no vegetation to slow down wave action.
As sea levels rise, erosion becomes worse because waves can reach further inland before they break up into smaller ripples.
The melting of glaciers is one of the most visible and dangerous effects of climate change.
Sea Ice Disappearance Could Happen
Scientists have expected sea ice to disappear, but now they think it could happen sooner than anticipated.
The world has been warming up and we’ve seen a loss of many species, especially in the Arctic. Climate change has done a lot of damage to Planet Earth, and the Arctic is no exception.
The Arctic Sea ice has been disappearing at an alarming rate over the past several decades, a trend that scientists say could eventually result in an ice-free summer in the Arctic Ocean.
But now, it appears we might be moving even faster than we thought. New research suggests that the Arctic may be ice-free by 2030, rather than 2050 as previously predicted.
The study used new computer models that take into account factors like temperature and wind speed to determine how much time remains before the Arctic could go completely ice-free during the summer months.
The authors found that once temperatures hit 3°C above preindustrial averages there would be little hope of preventing an ice-free summer in all but the very highest latitudes of the North Pole.
This doesn’t mean all the world’s polar bears will die immediately. But it does mean that they’ll have to adapt quickly if they want to survive at all.
There’s no question that polar bears are already feeling the effects of climate change — and it’s all thanks to melting sea ice.
Polar bears rely on sea ice as a platform from which to hunt seals, their main food source. When that platform disappears, so do many polar bears’ chances of catching dinner.
And when they don’t eat enough, they lose body mass and reproductive ability. Leading to fewer cubs being born each year and lower survival rates among cubs who are born anyway.
The ice meltdown will have a huge impact on Planet Earth’s climate.
The ice melting in both the Arctic and Antarctic is one of the biggest threats to human civilisation – no exaggeration.
Scientists have said that if all the world’s ice melted, sea levels would rise which would lead to the flooding of nearly every major coastal city in the world.
We are facing a climate catastrophe, and while many people don’t realise it, it is happening as you read this. Not a day goes past without a major news story being reported about the ice meltdown on our oceans.
The extent and thickness of sea ice are a key part of our climate system. It has a large impact on Planet Earth’s energy balance, acting as a barrier between the ocean surface and the atmosphere.
The sea ice cover in both the Arctic and Antarctic has been declining rapidly over recent decades. This decline has been attributed to human-caused warming of Planet Earth.
As the temperature of the air above the ocean surface rises, it melts the ice that floats on top. As a result, both Arctic and Antarctic Sea ice are at record lows for this time of year.
Sea ice plays an important role in regulating our climate by reflecting solar radiation back into space, which helps keep Planet Earth cool.
When there’s less sea ice, more sunlight gets absorbed by the dark ocean waters instead.
This contributes to warming oceans and land masses around the world — including where you live!
Scientists have known for decades that sea ice is melting. Research shows it is melting faster and is likely to be much worse than previously imagined.
As we have seen, the effects of this ice loss are already showing up in our climate system, and the warming will continue to intensify.
Though it’s still not clear what kind of future Planet Earth has, we must come together now to try and reverse these trends.
And the best way to do this is to reduce carbon emissions where possible.
If we want to slow the tide of ice loss, now is the time.
Even if you’re unsure about global warming, measures to fight it will be beneficial for everyone.