You’ve probably heard that the Arctic Sea ice is melting. Most of us have caught wind of this little fact through some media channel or another, but do you really understand what it means? There are countless articles out there about the science behind the melting ice, and the ecological impacts, but for the purpose of this article I’d simply like to focus on three very good reasons why it’s important to preserve the Arctic Sea ice and slow its melting.
First off, Arctic Sea ice helps maintain ocean currents. That’s important because ocean currents effect not only the weather patterns over sea, but also land. As more ice melts and pushes cold water and ice away from the poles, it prevents warmer, tropical waters from rising, which in turn throws weather patterns into chaos. Which brings me to the second point…
Reducing the rate of Arctic ice melt will also help reduce the occurrence of severe weather. Large swaths of Arctic sea ice help block the amount of moisture that can rise from the ocean into the atmosphere. The more moisture that makes it into the atmosphere, the more potential there is for harsh storms to develop over land. Reducing the amount of “blocking” that the Arctic provides can leave continents wide open for extremely strong storms.
Lastly, the Arctic Sea ice and the ecosystems surrounding it support native people and animals. Aside from the obvious threat of shore erosion, whereby a native community could literally be pushed back by the sea, native people also rely on animals to survive. For example, many native tribes hunt seal for their survival, and deteriorating ice shelves make it not only more difficult, but more dangerous to pursue certain animals. There isn’t a single animal in the Arctic that isn’t affected in some way by the melting sea ice. Polar bears are losing the ice rafts they use to hunt seals, who in turn are losing habitat they use to hunt themselves, hide and raise their young.
Do a little more research on global warming, and what you can do to reduce the impact of Arctic ice melt. Not only will your neighbor thank you, but the polar bears will too.