What is happening to the Arctic?

The place that was once known for its ice-covered land and its beautifully crafted glaciers is now melting away faster than we ever imagined. The Arctic is always covered in ice year-round, but when the winter season hits, it gets a temporary ice plain that covers its shores and stretches far out into the sea. (3)According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, that temporary ice is dying, becoming smaller and smaller each year, leaving animals short of their much-needed hunting and resting grounds. With the sea ice melting more each year some people wonder how much longer the residents of Arctic are gonna survive.

(2) Species like the polar bear are starting to starve due to the lack of winter sea ice. Less polar bear cubs are surviving every year because their mothers can’t get enough food for both of them to eat. With the sea ice forming later in the season, the polar bears and other species are becoming too exhausted to even go on a hunt. When they travel to where ice should be they are left with a raging sea. The result of this is that they are either drowning in the water or becoming stranded on small floating pieces of ice with no land in sight.

Polar bears are not the only animals affected by this change, so are walruses, seals, foxes, even killer whales are affected by the melting ice.  It is important to understand that it is not just the land animals being affected by the melting ice but the marine animals as well. When the sea ice melts what’s gonna happen to the variety of seal and whale species that rely on the ice for shelter and food? 

(1) According to National Geographic, the melting ice will affect the whales in a positive way, but only for a short while. With the ice comes algae, for the current time being there is more algae which is good for the whales. Although “Once the ice goes, the algae goes,” says Glandon of National Geographic. So the melting ice will help the whales for now.  In the long run, however, the whales might not be so lucky. If the sea ice melts away completely the whales will have no algae feeding creatures to eat, which will reverse the effects the melting ice has on them.

There have been many ideas all across the globe to fix the ice problem and save the Arctic but the problem is that nobody wants to commit to something as big as this, especially if the solutions cost millions of dollars. If all the Arctic sea ice melts the question some of us will be asking is: what’s going to happen to the rest of the world now? The Arctic sea ice helps keep the planet cool, if we ignore the ice problem until it is too late, we might even be dooming ourselves with the same fate the Arctic has now: total destruction. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/06/melting-sea-ice-brings-boom-and-then-bust-for-arctic-iconic-whales/
  2. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/02/polar-bears-starve-melting-sea-ice-global-warming-study-beaufort-sea-environment/
  3. https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/seaice/index.html