Australia too is a vulnerable region that could suffer bad consequences if the ice caps were to melt. They will be further tested later on land, helping us understand how sea ice loss is potentially impacting their ability to take in and sequester CO2. The scientists want to learn more about this threat beneath the ice, which could potentially destroy the cycle of life that starts here, and threaten the lives of people all over the planet. If we keep burning fossil fuels indefinitely, global warming will eventually melt all the ice at the poles and on mountaintops, raising sea level by 216 feet. "And then right below there is this warm water, that is almost 3.5 degrees and this is the warm Atlantic water" Cape adds. In reality, Arctic sea-ice cover is not concerned with time. Pig guts were thrown, Video of 4 police officers beating Black man emerges, Read: Arctic's 'last bastion' of sea ice is breaking up for the first time, Read: Arctic permafrost is melting so fast it's damaging scientists' equipment, Inside the military base at the heart of Putin's Arctic ambitions, Read: Judge rules Trump executive order allowing offshore drilling in Arctic Ocean unlawful. Here's what would happen if all the ice in the Arctic melted. See our study on Fisheries. This can cause a cycle of more melting sea ice. Melting Greenland ice sheet raises sea levels. And being in direct contact with the warming waters of the ocean, sea ice will be the first form of frozen water to disappear. There is a significant amount of ice covering Greenland, which would add another 7 meters (20 feet) to the oceans if it melted. 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As Arctic Sea Ice Disappears, What Happens to Ecosystems? 80% of the ice movement in and out of the Arctic Ocean happens through here. First, ice is white and the ocean is…. Recent research shows that Arctic sea ice is melting faster than expected. Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise has been converted into a floating lab and on board, ice core samples are distilled and examined. The effects of global warming in the Arctic, or climate change in the Arctic include rising air and water temperatures, loss of sea ice, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet with a related cold temperature anomaly, observed since the 1970s. 2016 saw some of the most extensive sea ice loss in recorded history. What the sea ice melt does to the ecosystem, and to us, is at the heart of this study. As the polar ice caps melt, the beautiful coastal cities … "Oh wow, that's beautiful," exclaims biological oceanographer Mattias Cape, examining a meter-long cylinder of ice. "It has definitely thinned in this area, it has thinned everywhere" says team leader, polar physicist Till Wagner, of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Under the microscope the frozen clues within come to life -- a kaleidoscope of sea ice algae and phytoplankton, microscopic organisms that use sunlight for energy. The researchers are trying to better understand exactly why this is happening. As the ice melts, the Arctic area becomes more accessible -– as does the 90 billion barrels of oil the U.S. Geological Survey estimates are beneath the Arctic Ocean. But warmer temperatures in the Arctic are causing another type of ice to disappear as well: land-based ice in Greenland. This effect, known as “Arctic amplification”, has consequences for nearby land ice, too. The underbelly of the ice teems with zooplankton -- tiny crustaceans that feed on the phytoplankton. In fact, the loss of reflective sea ice is one of the main reasons why Arctic temperature has risen three times faster than the global average in recent decades. According to a CNN report, the Arctic is heating up twice as fast as the global average causing massive melting of sea ice. Arctic marine fisheries … Less sea ice means there will be less of that protective cold layer, leading to even more melting. Find out more about how we use your information in our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Arctic ice melt could trigger uncontrollable climate change at global level. Coastal Australia would be washed away along with 80% of residents. Global warming, highlighted by the Siberian heatwave in June, has meant that much of the Arctic's sea ice hasn't formed. 2. For several years now, scientists have been painfully aware that the Earth's ice caps are rapidly melting, but little did they know how soon it would actually happen. Sea ice is rapidly disappearing as a result of climate change and warming seawater temperatures. "This warm water is at the surface as it comes up [from the south] and then it drops under the ice as it goes into the Arctic Ocean," says Wagner. Recent research shows that Arctic sea ice is melting faster than expected. Melting Greenland ice sheet raises sea levels. The Fram Strait is the main gateway through which sea ice leaves the Arctic Ocean. As the sea ice melts, ice algae and phytoplankton are released into the sea. Over the month of July, enough melt poured into the ocean to bump sea levels up by an easily measurable half a millimeter. : http://dne.ws/1Lm48kc Climate change is causing the ice sheets to melt at an alarming rate. That means almost half of Australia would perish and the rest flooded completely. The ice floats on the Arctic Ocean. Where’s the sea ice? "For the longest time the story of sea ice loss has been one of the higher air temperatures melting the ice from above," Wagner explains. Related impacts include ocean circulation changes, increased input of freshwater, and ocean acidification. The Arctic is melting. Most of the Atlantic coast, Florida, and the Gulf Coast will be underwater. Measuring the thickness and density of a recently extracted ice core. Greenpeace is traveling from the Arctic to the Antarctic to highlight the threats facing our oceans and part of its campaign for ocean sanctuaries. Melting land ice, like mountain glaciers and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, will change the Earth’s rotation only if the meltwater flows into the oceans. With our planet continuing to warm due to greenhouse gas emissions, we expect to see years in the not-too-distant future where Arctic sea ice completely melts … 6 What would happen to Australia? "And the risk of not doing that is pushing the marine ecosystem over the edge. Australia too is a vulnerable region that could suffer bad consequences if the ice caps were to melt. Less ice ultimately puts that entire cycle at risk, with a smaller nutrient injection meaning less food further up the chain. To enable Verizon Media and our partners to process your personal data select 'I agree', or select 'Manage settings' for more information and to manage your choices. Fram Strait, Arctic Circle (CNN)It's spring in the Arctic, and nature in the far north is just waking up, warmed by 24 daily hours of sunlight. These waters might look barren, but they are hugely productive when it comes to the building blocks of ocean life. In the short term, this creates something of a nutrient injection that jump starts the cycle of life in the ocean. An estimated 5 million cubic … Continued burning of fossil fuels will destroy life faster. After a recent excursion to the Arctic , researchers made a seriously shocking — and truly devastating — discovery regarding just how quickly the Arctic's ice is melting . But since it's floating, it will displace a volume of water that would have an equal mass as the ice. ( Read about how unexpected changes are occuring in … As we lose more ice more quickly and see more rapid permafrost melt, we will start seeing the worst climate change predictions come true. As the sea ice melts, ice algae and phytoplankton are released into the sea. This, in turn, causes more ice and permafrost to thaw or melt, releasing more methane, causing more melting. When it thaws, that methane is released, increasing the rate of warming. The uncertainty is how fast it happens. As sea ice melts in the spring, it releases fresh water and nutrients into the ocean, seeding phytoplankton blooms that serve as the base of food webs… If you have ice floating in the water, it displaces some liquid water. As the latest episode of AsapSCIENCE explains, ice on Earth comes in the form of glaciers, ice sheets, permafrost, and snow. In turn krill and smaller fish feed on the zooplankton, big fish feed on the smaller fish and so it goes on up a food chain that includes whales, seals, sea birds, and even polar bears. By Arwa Damon; video and photos, Brice Laine, CNN. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Your Privacy Controls. If you have ice floating in the water, it displaces some liquid water. The Earth will become uninhabitable for people and the plants and animals we depend on for survival. This live lesson broadcast is a great way of learning about sea-level rise and clear up common misconceptions such as how melting sea ice in the Arctic will cause sea levels to rise. The northern Bering Sea is experiencing record-setting low winter sea ice levels, which … If that ice melts, it causes sea levels to go … The Arctic's frozen ground contains large stores of organic carbon that have been locked in the permafrost for thousands of years. In the end it's the political will that needs to be there.". In this warmer water, away from the ice, they found significantly less phytoplankton. A catastrophic marine ecosystem crisis of unimaginable consequences is taking shape. As the ice disappears, patches of open ocean absorb more sunlight and … not white. 5.2 What will be the impact on marine fisheries? As the ship heads further south, we come across red streaks of blood across the ice, the bloody aftermath of a polar bear kill. If it melted sea levels would not be affecte­d. As the Earth continues to warm and Arctic sea ice melts, the influx of freshwater from the melting ice is making seawater at high latitudes less salty and hence less dense. Yahoo is part of Verizon Media. As the region’s once abundant ice melts, giving way to a less reflective surface, the Arctic heats up faster—now at a rate that is double the rest of the planet. A team of interdisciplinary scientists is here on a study facilitated by Greenpeace, at the start of the environmental group's nearly year-long pole-to-pole expedition. Even Some Ice Melting Will Have Serious Repercussions . Enjoy Miami and Shanghai While They’re Here. The Arctic is already vanishing and the Antarctic is following, threatening us with the very inundation the polar ice spares us. With our planet continuing to warm due to greenhouse gas emissions, we expect to see years in the not-too-distant future where Faster melting tends to become a self-reinforcing system in the Arctic. When we talk about global warming at the poles, the Arctic tends to get more press than the Antarctic, because it’s happening faster there than anywhere else on Earth. Negotiations towards a Global Ocean Treaty at the UN are under way and Greenpeace is part of a broader coalition that is campaigning for legislation that would see 30% of our oceans protected by 2030. This effect, known as “Arctic amplification”, has consequences for nearby land ice, too. As that ice melts it causes a bunch of problems. "We can put a deal in place that the status quo goes on or we can put a deal in place that has teeth, that will allow us to designate areas in the high seas for fully protected marine reserves," says Sune Scheller, Greenpeace's expedition leader. In the short term, this creates something of a nutrient injection that jump starts the cycle of life in the ocean. But this April saw a record loss of sea ice across the Arctic. Once all ice is melted and added to the global oceans our seas would rise by 216 feet as compared to the current level. But since it's floating, it will displace a volume of water that would have an equal mass as the ice. Ice loss is a function of natural climate variability and anthropogenic warming caused by increased atmospheric CO 2 concentrations. Since 1990 the thickness of sea ice here has decreased by a third, from about 3 meters to 2 meters, according to the Fram Strait Arctic Observatory. It’s not “if” but when. Cape explains that these organisms play a vital role in reducing climate change by pulling planet-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it as a long-term "carbon sink.". Which Country Will Be Under Water In Our Lifetime? Arctic ice and permafrost—ground that is permanently frozen—store large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. "It's tragic to hear something like that and I think this is an extreme case of cherry picking because obviously you can find small individual good things about climate change but in the broad perspective the negative downside of this to us as humans, the environment, the ocean, will outweigh the small potential benefits substantially," says Scheller. Freshly melted ice not only injects life into the water -- it creates a layer of cold water that protects sea ice above from more melting. We and our partners will store and/or access information on your device through the use of cookies and similar technologies, to display personalised ads and content, for ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. The inflatable boats carrying the scientists maneuver slowly through a sea of fractured ice, a mosaic of pieces that once were part of the Arctic ice sheet, pushed south by winds and currents into the Fram Strait. 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