Devastating summer for the Arctic

In September, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean hit a low of about 1.4 mn acres – the second-lowest on record. Reports suggest, in 1980’s, ice covered at least 1 mn more acres of ocean than it does now

Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center

Lasting Impact

Sea ice at the North and South Poles has shrunk dramatically over the last 30 years. Latest evidence shows that Earth’s northernmost ice sheet has entered a period of rapid decline.

Why we should be concerned

Melting sea ice doesn’t contribute to sea-level rise, but it has been linked to increased storminess on the East Coast.

It would also lead to weakening the jet stream, resulting in slower weather patterns and events like heat waves would last longer.

More El Niño storms in the Pacific Ocean

According to reports, over the past 20 years, the Arctic Ocean has warmed so much that air over the sea’s surface forms towers of hot air. These changing weather patterns caused by ice-sea loss may also cause more El Niño storms in the Pacific Ocean.

Loss of natural habitat

With the ice melting, polar bears have to swim & hunt between smaller chunks, which tires them and they’re at a higher risk of hypothermia. 

A 2018 study found that polar bears in the region have been losing weight during late spring & early summer, when they should be gaining weight to prepare for winter.

An unprecedented rate

Between them, Greenland and Antarctica lost 6.4 trn tonnes of ice in the period from 1992 to 2017. Greenland alone is losing about 234 bn tons of land ice per year.

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