Media Coverage of Reduction of Sea Ice in the Arctic
The arctic region of the northern hemisphere is a sparsely populated part of the world.It is home to a wide variety of wildlife that has adapted to the harsh environment, which is covered by snow and ice for the majority of the year.Throughout the year a sheet of ice several feet thick, which the wildife depend upon for food, shelter, and survival, covers the ocean.
Map of Arctic Ocean, depicting sea ice coverage
This ice sheet has shown a serious reduction in thickness that many scientists have attributed to our warming climate.The sea ice is not very thick, with many places at a couple of inches, while in some places it can grow to nearly ten feet.Recent research has suggested that the ice sheet has experienced a forty percent reduction in the past thirty years.(N)That forty percent decrease amounts toa loss of four inches a year.(N) Conducting research and data acquisition is difficult because the thickness of the ice can only be measured by submarine sonar equipment.The US navy nuclear submarines provide much of the data that is analyzed in sea ice research. This reduction leads many scientists and environmentalist to question what will become of the species that depend on the seasonal variations in the sea ice for survival.
Graph depicting fluctuations in ice coverage over time
The global implications of a thinning layer of sea ice may have a drastic effect on our climate.The sea ice limits the amount of incoming solar radiation that its absorbed by the earth.A reduction of sea ice will increase the amount of insolation that is absorbed by the oceans causing the waters to become warmer, and thereby leading to further melting of the sea ice.
The effects of melting sea ice will increase the amount of inputs into the polar ecosystems.Sea ice and ice sheets are composed of fresh water, and the introduction of f…