A just-published study in the journal Environmental Research Letters has found that, based on computer modeling, at least 70 percent of “radical decline” in sea ice around the Arctic is caused by “human-induced climate change.”
In fact, as much as 95 percent of the loss of arctic sea ice could be due to human factors.
The decline in the sea ice could be cataclysmic for wildlife. It could further endanger arctic ecosystems as, with far less sea ice, new northern sea routes could be open and greater areas of the sea bed made accessible for drilling for oil and gas.
The sea ice has been shrinking at a faster rate since the 1990s. Scientists predict that, before too long — the late 2020s — the Arctic could become ice-free in the summer. Jonny Day, a climate scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading who led the study, says in the Guardian that the summer sea ice has decreased by 40 percent since the 1970s.
Day explains how the warming of the earth and the subsequent loss of ice can have other effects on the environment:
“[There is] something called the ice-albedo feedback, which means that when you have less ice, it means there’s more open water and therefore the ocean absorbs more radiation and will continue to warm.”
“It’s unclear what will happen – it definitely seems like it’s going in that direction.”
Care2 blogger Judy Molland has written about the recent, dramatic effects of climate change on Greenland where an iceberg twice the size of Manhattan broke off inland. A gust of warm air has led to “unprecedented thawing” in Greenland, about four-fifths of which is covered by a huge ice sheet. An extreme runoff from the glacier has resulted and has washed out a key transport and research hub.
This video shows the bridge, which was built in the 1950s, being swept away.
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Photo taken in August of 2010 by U.S. Army Engineer Research & Development Center