Arctic Sea Ice is Melting – That’s Bad

The ice in the Arctic is melting. That’s bad. The Arctic Sea Ice is often referred to as one of the planet’s “air conditioners,” because it keeps things from heating up too much. But as the ice melts, it leads to a reinforcing spiral of heating. How? Ice is very good at reflecting the sun’s radiation back out into space – like a mirror, so the sun’s rays are never absorbed at all. Water, on the other hand, is very good at absorbing the sun’s rays and therefore heating up the water. As more ice melts, more water is available to absorb more of the sun’s rays, which produce a positive feedback loop of more ice lost and more heating of the water – which is more heating of the planet.

So what’s causing this? We are. By digging fossil fuels (gas, oil, coal, etc.) from the ground and burning them, we’re adding billions of tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere every year. These gases trap heat and the planet continues to warm.

No matter what graphs you look at (see below), Arctic ice is melting more and more as time goes on.



Categories: Weather Blog