The area of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has significantly been on the decline for nearly a decade. This summer it reached epic proportions by hovering near a historic low. Low levels of ice increased water temperatures throughout the reign with Greenland suffering the most notable problems. Greenland’s massive ice sheet is melting at historic records and has literally raised the continent from the now displaced weight of the ice sheet.
At the same time, winter record temperatures drops have been seen all across North America. And the problem only increase exponentially with each freeze and thaw cycle that happens at our polar caps. Over the last four years-the lowest four levels in recorded history-the polar ice cap has been its thinnest.
This translates into easier to melt ice next year. That in turn creates pockets of warmer water, which then furthers the melting process. White ice reflects sunlight and insulates the ice from melting. Dark seawater absorbs heat and furthers the expansion of ice free pockets in the Arctic.
But isn’t global warming supposed to make the planet hotter? It does, but thanks to our Atlantic Oceans Gulf Stream, warm water rises from southern latitudes to polar regions and vice-versa. This huge difference in melting cold water from polar ice caps circulates throughout the Atlantic and brings colder water temperatures to the Gulf Stream. Colder water equals colder weather.
While we may not understand global warming and its processes that work on our environment, what’s worse is that we know the effects of Gulf Stream cooling. This is how the ice ages happened.
And to further compound the process, the jet stream that circumvents our northern most latitudes, may be changing to. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), the circumpolar winds which help control the jet streams cold and warming fluctuations, may be in danger, allowing cold arctic air to blast down to further south than normal.
While further studies are preformed and our country continues to not accept climate change issues, the loss of sea ice and its wilderness are being lost forever. So long as we continue along on our path of environmental habits, we continue along the path towards climate change.