Arctic Ice Loss

It’s all over the news: the Earth’s Arctic Region is losing more and more sea ice each and every year – here’s why.

Not So Hot

The Earth’s temperature is rising. Just a bit, but every single degree makes a big difference when it comes to our planet. Increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are trapping more of the sun’s heat. Heat is not good for ice. Just ask Frosty the Snowman!

Tense Atmosphere

Studies that started in the 1970s show that the Arctic’s atmosphere is warming at a faster rate than the rest of the world. In July, the warmest month, Arctic temperatures can rise to 0 degrees Celsius or more. That’s when ice melts. Since 1980, satellite images taken of the polar cap show that the ice cover is shrinking by an average of almost 8% each year. In that time, the polar ocean has lost about 1,400,000 square kilometers of ice. These changes in the Arctic mean new challenges for the people and animals that live there.

White Ice

White ice reflects a lot of sunlight off the Earth’s surfaces. Open water, on the other hand, is very dark and tends to absorb sunlight. As the sea ice melts, more and more water surface is exposed to the rays of the sun, heating the water and adding to the overall problem.

Video: NASA Arctic Ice Loss

Have Your Say

What can kids do to help stop or slow global warming? Let us know in the Comments section below!

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