what happens if the arctic melts

Faster melting tends to become a self-reinforcing system in the Arctic. Negotiations towards a Global Ocean Treaty at the UN are under way and Greenpeace is part of a broader coalition that is campaigning for legislation that would see 30% of our oceans protected by 2030. If we keep burning fossil fuels indefinitely, global warming will eventually melt all the ice at the poles and on mountaintops, raising sea level by 216 feet. Since 1990 the thickness of sea ice here has decreased by a third, from about 3 meters to 2 meters, according to the Fram Strait Arctic Observatory. This effect, known as “Arctic amplification”, has consequences for nearby land ice, too. A catastrophic marine ecosystem crisis of unimaginable consequences is taking shape. The scientists extract ice cores from the floes, which hold clues that are invisible to the naked eye. Over the month of July, enough melt poured into the ocean to bump sea levels up by an easily measurable half a millimeter. Coastal Australia would be washed away along with 80% of residents. Which Country Will Be Under Water In Our Lifetime? Greenpeace is traveling from the Arctic to the Antarctic to highlight the threats facing our oceans and part of its campaign for ocean sanctuaries. Faster melting tends to become a self-reinforcing system in the Arctic. Enjoy Miami and Shanghai While They’re Here. Sea ice is rapidly disappearing as a result of climate change and warming seawater temperatures. In this warmer water, away from the ice, they found significantly less phytoplankton. The northern Bering Sea is experiencing record-setting low winter sea ice levels, which … The underbelly of the ice teems with zooplankton -- tiny crustaceans that feed on the phytoplankton. But this April saw a record loss of sea ice across the Arctic. In fact, the loss of reflective sea ice is one of the main reasons why Arctic temperature has risen three times faster than the global average in recent decades. When we talk about global warming at the poles, the Arctic tends to get more press than the Antarctic, because it’s happening faster there than anywhere else on Earth. After a recent excursion to the Arctic , researchers made a seriously shocking — and truly devastating — discovery regarding just how quickly the Arctic's ice is melting . As the latest episode of AsapSCIENCE explains, ice on Earth comes in the form of glaciers, ice sheets, permafrost, and snow. 80% of the ice movement in and out of the Arctic Ocean happens through here. The Arctic's frozen ground contains large stores of organic carbon that have been locked in the permafrost for thousands of years. This can cause a cycle of more melting sea ice. 3 reasons the Arctic freeze is unseasonably late and why it matters. Here's what would happen if all the ice in the Arctic melted. Australia too is a vulnerable region that could suffer bad consequences if the ice caps were to melt. As the region’s once abundant ice melts, giving way to a less reflective surface, the Arctic heats up faster—now at a rate that is double the rest of the planet. The team's study confirmed their expectation. To enable Verizon Media and our partners to process your personal data select 'I agree', or select 'Manage settings' for more information and to manage your choices. 2. The researchers are trying to better understand exactly why this is happening. If we keep burning fossil fuels indefinitely, global warming will eventually melt all the ice at the poles and on mountaintops, raising sea level by 216 feet. This effect, known as “Arctic amplification”, has consequences for nearby land ice, too. As the ice disappears, patches of open ocean absorb more sunlight and heat, further warming the water and melting more ice. These waters might look barren, but they are hugely productive when it comes to the building blocks of ocean life. "For the longest time the story of sea ice loss has been one of the higher air temperatures melting the ice from above," Wagner explains. Because the Arctic is largely made up of ocean, ice there mainly takes the form of floating blocks such as massive icebergs. In the end it's the political will that needs to be there.". As the sea ice melts, ice algae and phytoplankton are released into the sea. Of course, it's not necessary for all of the ice to melt for us to experience devastating effects of sea level rise. 6 What would happen to Australia? "It isolates the ice from the hot devil water sitting at the bottom waiting to come up" Wagner explains. This live lesson broadcast is a great way of learning about sea-level rise and clear up common misconceptions such as how melting sea ice in the Arctic will cause sea levels to rise. Ice loss is a function of natural climate variability and anthropogenic warming caused by increased atmospheric CO 2 concentrations. The investigation will provide students an opportunity to observe over time and compare how the melting of different types of ice in the Arctic and Antarctic will affect sea-level rise. A team of interdisciplinary scientists is here on a study facilitated by Greenpeace, at the start of the environmental group's nearly year-long pole-to-pole expedition. "It has definitely thinned in this area, it has thinned everywhere" says team leader, polar physicist Till Wagner, of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. If that ice melts, it causes sea levels to go … And being in direct contact with the warming waters of the ocean, sea ice will be the first form of frozen water to disappear. As the Earth continues to warm and Arctic sea ice melts, the influx of freshwater from the melting ice is making seawater at high latitudes less salty and hence less dense. As the ship heads further south, we come across red streaks of blood across the ice, the bloody aftermath of a polar bear kill. As we lose more ice more quickly and see more rapid permafrost melt, we will start seeing the worst climate change predictions come true. Information about your device and internet connection, including your IP address, Browsing and search activity while using Verizon Media websites and apps. Recent research shows that Arctic sea ice is melting faster than expected. The ice floats on the Arctic Ocean. Measuring the thickness and density of a recently extracted ice core. When it thaws, that methane is released, increasing the rate of warming. Because Greenland is closer to the equator than Antarctica, the temperatures there are higher, so the ice is more likely to melt. In fact, the loss of reflective sea ice is one of the main reasons why Arctic temperature has risen three times faster than the global average in recent decades. For several years now, scientists have been painfully aware that the Earth's ice caps are rapidly melting, but little did they know how soon it would actually happen. The Arctic is already vanishing and the Antarctic is following, threatening us with the very inundation the polar ice spares us. Find out more about how we use your information in our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. With our planet continuing to warm due to greenhouse gas emissions, we expect to see years in the not-too-distant future where Arctic sea ice completely melts … Even Some Ice Melting Will Have Serious Repercussions . As the sea ice melts, ice algae and phytoplankton are released into the sea. ( Read about how unexpected changes are occuring in … Related impacts include ocean circulation changes, increased input of freshwater, and ocean acidification. But warmer temperatures in the Arctic are causing another type of ice to disappear as well: land-based ice in Greenland. Freshly melted ice not only injects life into the water -- it creates a layer of cold water that protects sea ice above from more melting. "It's tragic to hear something like that and I think this is an extreme case of cherry picking because obviously you can find small individual good things about climate change but in the broad perspective the negative downside of this to us as humans, the environment, the ocean, will outweigh the small potential benefits substantially," says Scheller. In fact, data shows that the North Atlantic has already become fresher over the past several decades. Arctic marine fisheries … 5.2 What will be the impact on marine fisheries? Here, in the waters of the Fram Strait, between Svaalbard and Greenland, is where ice comes to die. "The layer that is under the ice has been coming up closer to the surface and melting the ice from underneath.". According to a CNN report, the Arctic is heating up twice as fast as the global average causing massive melting of sea ice. If you have ice floating in the water, it displaces some liquid water. The Arctic is melting. With our planet continuing to warm due to greenhouse gas emissions, we expect to see years in the not-too-distant future where Arctic sea ice completely melts away during the summer. It’s not “if” but when. In reality, Arctic sea-ice cover is not concerned with time. "We can put a deal in place that the status quo goes on or we can put a deal in place that has teeth, that will allow us to designate areas in the high seas for fully protected marine reserves," says Sune Scheller, Greenpeace's expedition leader. The consequences of climate change can be weird and apocalyptic. Where’s the sea ice? What the sea ice melt does to the ecosystem, and to us, is at the heart of this study. The Earth will become uninhabitable for people and the plants and animals we depend on for survival. Under the microscope the frozen clues within come to life -- a kaleidoscope of sea ice algae and phytoplankton, microscopic organisms that use sunlight for energy. With our planet continuing to warm due to greenhouse gas emissions, we expect to see years in the not-too-distant future where "Oh wow, that's beautiful," exclaims biological oceanographer Mattias Cape, examining a meter-long cylinder of ice. That means almost half of Australia would perish and the rest flooded completely. Less sea ice means there will be less of that protective cold layer, leading to even more melting. If you have ice floating in the water, it displaces some liquid water. Melting Greenland ice sheet raises sea levels. An estimated 5 million cubic … 2. Melting permafrost in the Arctic is unlocking diseases and warping the landscape. In the short term, this creates something of a nutrient injection that jump starts the cycle of life in the ocean. In the short term, this creates something of a nutrient injection that jump starts the cycle of life in the ocean. Arctic ice melt could trigger uncontrollable climate change at global level. It is one important reason why the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet. : http://dne.ws/1Lm48kc Climate change is causing the ice sheets to melt at an alarming rate. 2016 saw some of the most extensive sea ice loss in recorded history. The uncertainty is how fast it happens. The absence of sea ice doesn't just threaten the top of the food chain, or the beluga whales we watch gently dipping along the ice edge, their deep breaths echoing across the silence of this remote region. The writing is on the wall that human's will have to adapt to a very different world as ice melts and oceans rise. Arctic ice and permafrost—ground that is permanently frozen—store large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Melting land ice, like mountain glaciers and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, will change the Earth’s rotation only if the meltwater flows into the oceans. As that ice melts it causes a bunch of problems. With climate change and melting ice putting more pressure on Arctic sea life, the group wants more of our oceans to be set aside as protected reserves, free from commercial exploitation. not white. The effects of global warming in the Arctic, or climate change in the Arctic include rising air and water temperatures, loss of sea ice, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet with a related cold temperature anomaly, observed since the 1970s. It is melting. By Arwa Damon; video and photos, Brice Laine, CNN. The US has not signed on to the Law of the Sea treaty, the UN guidelines on how countries use our oceans, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently hailed the economic opportunities presented by shrinking levels of sea ice opening up shipping lanes and a wealth of natural resources. The Arctic is melting faster than at any time in at least the last 1,500 years, according to climate scientists. They will be further tested later on land, helping us understand how sea ice loss is potentially impacting their ability to take in and sequester CO2. Here, the scientists spend days working on top of the precarious ice floes, keeping a watchful eye out for polar bears while drilling into the ice to measure its thickness. Melting Greenland ice sheet raises sea levels. As the ice melts, the Arctic area becomes more accessible -– as does the 90 billion barrels of oil the U.S. Geological Survey estimates are beneath the Arctic Ocean. Recent research shows that Arctic sea ice is melting faster than expected. This, in turn, causes more ice and permafrost to thaw or melt, releasing more methane, causing more melting. As Arctic Sea Ice Disappears, What Happens to Ecosystems? "In the top layer [of the ocean] you see there is a ton of biomass between 10 meters and 30 meters" Wagner says. The inflatable boats carrying the scientists maneuver slowly through a sea of fractured ice, a mosaic of pieces that once were part of the Arctic ice sheet, pushed south by winds and currents into the Fram Strait. In turn krill and smaller fish feed on the zooplankton, big fish feed on the smaller fish and so it goes on up a food chain that includes whales, seals, sea birds, and even polar bears. Global warming, highlighted by the Siberian heatwave in June, has meant that much of the Arctic's sea ice hasn't formed. The scientists want to learn more about this threat beneath the ice, which could potentially destroy the cycle of life that starts here, and threaten the lives of people all over the planet. Most of the Atlantic coast, Florida, and the Gulf Coast will be underwater. Pig guts were thrown, Video of 4 police officers beating Black man emerges, Read: Arctic's 'last bastion' of sea ice is breaking up for the first time, Read: Arctic permafrost is melting so fast it's damaging scientists' equipment, Inside the military base at the heart of Putin's Arctic ambitions, Read: Judge rules Trump executive order allowing offshore drilling in Arctic Ocean unlawful. It is one important reason why the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet. As the ice disappears, patches of open ocean absorb more sunlight and … The Fram Strait is the main gateway through which sea ice leaves the Arctic Ocean. Fram Strait, Arctic Circle (CNN)It's spring in the Arctic, and nature in the far north is just waking up, warmed by 24 daily hours of sunlight. If it melted sea levels would not be affecte­d. In fact, data shows that the North Atlantic has already become fresher over the past several decades. quoted from the article: Australia too is a vulnerable region that could suffer bad consequences if the ice caps were to melt. Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise has been converted into a floating lab and on board, ice core samples are distilled and examined. That means almost half of Australia would perish and the rest flooded completely. Cape explains that these organisms play a vital role in reducing climate change by pulling planet-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it as a long-term "carbon sink.". The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent, as of Feb. 5, 2017, along with daily ice extent data for four previous years. 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