Desk: Considering the fact that the Arctic and Antarctic are situated on either side of the globe, the poles have not really been a severe reason of concern. But this piece might set you thinking about the adverse effect manifested on it owing to several environmental hazards. There is a major possibility that the Arctic might just be wiped out in 23 years - three decades earlier than expected.
Scientists from the Arctic also opine that the minimum coverage of ice in summer in the region has reduced to half since the past 30 years, while its volume has declined by three-quarters. And this is a lot. These changes will result in extreme repercussions, not only to the countries within the territory of the Arctic circle but to Earth as well.
The brighter side, however, exists as the Arctic Council predicts the use of the northern sail route –from northern Europe to north-east Asia – which will decrease the distance between the two by two-fifths as compared to the current Suez Canal, if the Arctic ice melts by 2040.
If sea ice melts, it will not only affect the Arctic pole but the climate of the planet as well.
White ice reflects 90% of the sun’s heat energy back into space and helps to cool the planet. This phenomenon is called the Albedo Effect. Since water is dark, it absorbs more heat energy resulting in the Arctic ice warming twice as fast as the rest of the Earth.
The wind, meanwhile, is driven by the temperature difference between the north, south and the tropics. With the elimination of the Arctic ice, the north pole’s temperature will rise faster than the tropics. Hence, the temperature will decrease between the two while the speed of the wind will reduce, thereby disrupting the northern jet stream, which will further escalate extreme weather.
The flow of ocean currents could reduce as well. In case of this happenstance, the Indian monsoon as well as the El Niño in the Pacific ocean will be disrupted.
If countries, which have signed up for the Paris Climate Agreement, serve their purpose (which is unlikely), the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is enough to wipe out the Arctic summer ice.
Courtesy: Kaifee Ali, TIMES NOW