This site is focused on why the arctic ice cap is melting, why we should care, and what we can do about it.
The Arctic ice cap has been melting at record rates over the past few years during the spring and summer melting seasons (March to September) (http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/quickfacts/seaice.html). On September 16, 2012, the Arctic ice cap was at its lowest extent in recorded history (http://nsidc.org/news/press/20121002_MinimumPR.html).
Image Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center, Image Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center,
University of Colorodo, Boulder University of Colorodo, Boulder
View of the North Pole on August 17, 2012. Melt water pools are clearly visible.
For more information, visit http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/.
Image Credit: North Pole Environmental Observatory
Sea ice volume (a drop in overall thickness of the sea ice) has declined significantly since 1979.
Image Credit: Polar Science Center
In the year 2012, the ice cap has continued the trend of recent years of rapid melting during the spring and summer seasons with the new record low ice extent established on August 26, 2012 breaking the record set on September 18, 2007 (http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq/#diff-min-values). This is significant because as of August 26th, 3 weeks remained in the 2012 summer melt season. Also, for the first time in recorded history, sea ice extent has fallen below 4 million square kilometers (1.54 square miles). For more information, visit http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/. The reason the ice cap is declining is increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere caused by human activities. To find out more, visit http://nsidc.org/icelights/2012/05/16/what-is-causing-arctic-sea-ice-decline/#more-747.
The reason ice decline is such a concern is melting ice changes earth's energy budget. White sea ice reflects between 50 to 70 percent of the Earth's solar radiation thus moderating earth's temperature. As the sea ice melts, dark blue ocean opens up. Ocean water reflects about 6 percent of Earth's solar radiation. The remainder gets absorbed in the ocean. As more of the ocean opens up, more of earth's solar radiation gets absorbed thus warming Earth's average temperature. These percentages account for the fact that ice is white and the ocean is blue. To read more, visit http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/seaice/processes/albedo.html.
Earth's rising temperature is a concern because this change causes the atmosphere to contain a greater amount of moisture. This occurs because of greater evaporation over Earth's oceans due to warmer temperatures. For the more information, visit http://www.skepticalscience.com/Record-snowfall-disproves-global-warming.htm. Greater moisture in the atmosphere means more intense precipitation events, storms, and hurricanes. Other impacts of global warming include more intense and frequent droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires (http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/fcons.asp). Sea level rise will also continue to occur due to melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet (which had a record amount of water melt in 2012), Antarctic ice cap, the Arctic ice cap, and mountain glaciers. Speaking of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, they have lost significant mass since 2002. (http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/arctic-sea-ice?before=1346117762). To find out more, check out these websites: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Basic-overview-melting-ice-around-globe.html, http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/fcons.asp, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444772804577621470127844642.html?mod=googlenews_wsj, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/greenland-ice-sheet-melting_n_1783063.html, and http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110308150228.htm.
The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets have lost significant mass since 2002.
Image Credit: NASA/University of California, Irvine
Experts are saying that the Arctic ice cap could be virtually ice free in a decade during the summer (http://theenergycollective.com/josephromm/110216/death-spiral-watch-experts-warn-near-ice-free-arctic-summer-decade-if-volume-trend). It is our job to prove them wrong.
So here is what we can do to curb global warming and stop the Arctic ice cap from melting completely. The keys are the three R's (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle).
Reducing means using energy/electricity as a precious resource. Use only what you need (when you are not in your room, turn off the lights and when you leave your home turn off the air-conditioning (AC)). When you do use electricity, use it wisely (run the AC at a temperature that keeps the house comfortable and not freezing cold).
Reuse. Use reusable shopping bags when you go to the grocery store. Use the same cup when you buy coffee or another beverage at your local store.
Recycle everything you can. This includes batteries. Find a location that can recycle batteries. Recycle paper, plastic, glass, and everything else that is recyclable. For information on what can be recycled, visit http://web.mit.edu/workinggreen/docs/What_Dos_and_Donts.pdf.
By doing the little things, we can solve a big problem and make a huge impact. Spread the word. Tell everyone you know about this site. Thanks for visiting.
Return to my personal website homepage by clicking on this link, https://sites.google.com/site/shanepolarbear/.
Last update: December 16, 2012