This was yet another bad week for Earth as NASA officially announced that arctic sea ice reached a record low point. According to satellite data, the late-summer ice located in the Arctic region poses a great threat to the planet. At this rate, Earth will continue to heat up, climate change will become a more prominent issue and life will become harder to sustain.
The ice located in this area basically works like a mirror that reflects solar energy back into space. The process allows our planet to stay cooler, thus maintaining a stable climate that ensures the survival of the human species. However, the ice has been getting scarce over the years and we can feel it.
NASA explained that the ice surface is mostly melting because of the high temperatures and this minimum size is usually established at the end of summer. Data from both the institution and the National Snow and Ice Data Center indicates that, on the date of September 11th, the registered area was 1.70 million square miles large.
The approximation is worrying if we take into consideration the fact that, in between 1981 and 2010, the average area used to be approximately 700,000 square miles larger than what it is today. This is all water that is raising the sea level all over the world and it is water that is shielding us from burning sunlight.
Walt Meier, a trusted sea ice scientist from the Goddard Space Flight Center, also announced that there has been no “major weather event” that could affect weather in any way and that could lead to the further melting of ice. This could be good news since these sort of changes are immediately noticed during this period, but if they do not occur, they might not appear at all.
However, Meier is concerned about the sea ice and its current development. It is known that the ice cap “used to be a solid sheet of ice”, but now it is broken into bits and pieces that are “exposed to warm ocean water”. So while there is nothing major to worry about, the threat is still there and it is building up slowly.
It is crucial that attention be given to this situation because, if we do not act quickly, we might end up with close to no solar protection in the following century or two.
Photo Credits wikimedia.org