The Arctic, one of the coldest places on the blue planet is changing. The climate of the north pole is getting hotter at an arming rate with every passing year. Global warming triggered climate change is transforming our earth, and this change is affecting every fragment of the planet’s biodiversity.
But how bad is the change and how is the warming temperature affecting the native species of Arctic? And how can we prevent further damage of the sea ice in the north pole?
Why Arctic is such a great concern
Though only a very small fraction of the world’s 7.8 billion population resides in the Arctic (approximately 4 million); the effects of exponentially increasing temperature in the north pole can be felt worldwide. What happens is the Artics just doesn’t stay there.
The Arctic’s temperature is skyrocketing faster than any other place on the planet. In June 2020, the hottest temperature of +38.6°C in the region was recorded in Verkhoyansk, Siberia. The June of 2020, Siberia was +5°C hotter than any recorded summer since 1982. These findings of a study led by Oxford University is showing how man-made carbon emissions are transforming the planet and with every passing year taking to in-habitibility.
The consequences of the warming climate in the Arctic
Vanishing sea ice
A National Geographic’s report published in August 2020, flashes a light on some of the most alarming pictures about the thinning and melting ice sheets of the north pole.
The study found that the ice sea in the Arctic is getting ice-free; in July of 2020 due to human activities triggered warming, the Arctic sea ice extended to a new low point. The report concluded that if the world doesn’t change the way it is interacting with the environment, the Arctic’s summer sea ice could eventually vanish by 2035.
Distresses Arctic wildlife
Animals residing in the Arctic have to move from one region to another in search of food, shelter as the temperature changes and snow takes over the surface. A recent study by NASA is depicting an absurd shift in the movement patterns of the Arctic animals; which is most likely due to climate change.
According to another report by the Guardian, the ice loss in the Arctic is forcing native animals, especially polar bears to use as much as four times of their energy just for surviving. This is because polar bears mainly depend upon seals for their food, but the vanishing ice sea (on which they hunt that is shrinking by 13% per decade) is forcing them to put four times extra effort to reach their food.
Polar bears are not the only victim of climate change, Narwhals, deep ocean swimmers relay on breathing holes that have abruptly shifted or disappeared, is causing great distress for the mammals.
Reindeer & Caribou
Climate change has pushed herds of Taimyr reindeers to migrate weeks earlier than their usual time; as witnessed by locals of Khatanga, Russia.
Arctic: Human invasion
As the ice is melting and clearing up more vacant sea, we are getting access to the sea area which was previously off the map. The melting ice is opening gateways to the inaccessible routes for ships to sail in.
Increasing ships in the Arctic is further worsening the already bad and distressed local biodiversity. Fuel and cargo are adding more ‘black carbon‘ in the Arctic’s air thus speeding up the melting to a greater extent. The noises of ships will also affect marine life in the region especially whales. In 2013, the first bulk carrier passed through the Northwestern Passage and the first cargo ship transited the Arctic in 2018.
Previously, ice was a barrier that didn’t allow humans to drill oil out of the ocean in the North Pole. But now as this barrier is clearing up; oil production in the Arctic is getting more commercially sustainable which disturbs the entire ecosystem of the region.
What can be done to reverse the upcoming catastrophe?
Though the Arctic is changing rapidly into a completely new climate; we can still stop the change and if work harder can also reverse the damage in some decades.
A huge portion of the Arctic sea ice has already melted away; the ‘Last Ice Area’ is a region in the Arctic where sea ice lasts the longest even in the hottest summers. Most of the polar species depend upon this area; therefore it is very vital to protect this last ice area. According to Arcticwwf organisation, the government along with the locals should work together to manage the remaining area.
Furthermore, a rigid plan, at an international level can prevent further damage in the already collapsing Arctic. Experts believe that a complete shift in the way we produce energy is one of the few gateways out of the upcoming catastrophic effects of climate change.
Government globally need to work together and urgently shift to renewables sources of energy. A balance between development and nature have to be established for keeping the earth as a thriving place as it is now.