An Inconvenient Truth: The Arctic

Crisis in the Northern Hemisphere

The Arctic circle consists primarily of ocean surrounded by land, including the countries Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Canada, Greenland, and Iceland. Areas in the arctic are characterized with land cloaked in snow and ice. The arctic supports countless numbers of wildlife and plants whose very lives depend on the dense precipitation. In past 30 years, our world has become supremely industrial, creating a massive amount of Carbon Dioxide in the air. This carbon dioxide absorbs the sun's heat, creating a gradual rise in temperature of the Earth. The Arctic circle is the area most affected by the change in climate. Sea ice, snow cover, and permafrost are all being lost due to this temperature increase.

So What if the Ice Melts?

Some may wonder what the problem is with a little less ice in the arctic circle. Countries such as Russia and Greenland consists primarily of thick forests rooted into layers of permafrost. The heating of the soil causes the ice in the permafrost to melt, drastically affecting the land. Buildings all over the land are collapsing without the structural support given by the permafrost. Without the ice, countries like Russia have a potential to be in turmoil, all due to global warming. The photo is an old building that used to house a military unit that now cannot be used. The climate change is also altering the seasons, resulting in many animals suffering. Animals that rely on certain food sources during a certain time are not getting a sufficient amount because their food source is available during a different time. This hurts animals such as polar bears who hunt and fish on the ice. The less ice, the less hunting grounds for these animals. In turn, the lack of food halts reproductive growth, endangering the survival of this species.

It Affects All of Us

While there is a large amount of people in the world who don't live even remotely close to the arctic circle, this is in fact a problem that affects everyone. The amount of water pouring into the Atlantic Ocean has the potential to change the pattern of the gulf stream, which is responsible for the weather patterns in much of Europe, Canada, and the United States. The cause in weather patterns could change areas such as France and Spain into areas with colder climates, as well as other countries bordering the gulf stream.

The Larsen B. Ice Shelf

The Larsen B. Ice Shelf was on the western border of Antarctica, a C-shaped shelf that had been retreating at such an alarming rate, even NASA was shocked. This area had been monitored daily by NASA satellites, and during the span of January 31st to April 13th was when the ice shelf began to deteriorate. Pools of melt water began to form, and eventually sheets of ice broke off. In January 1995, the shelf measured 4,445 sq. miles, and receded to 2,573 sq. miles in February of 2002 A month later, it decreased to 1,137.While there was intense damage, the ice shelf was not expected to completely disappear. Again, scientists were proven wrong when new studies came to show that the 10,000 year old shelf will be gone by 2020.
Larsen B ice shelf collapse.wmv