Declining arctic sea ice is a component of enhanced climate change, impacting the lives of people. As the arctic sea ice melts it will form several positive feedback loops such as decreasing albedo, thawing permafrost, and increasing ocean levels. This contributes to an overall increase in global average temperatures, creating countless changes to our planet.
Reducing arctic ice impacts the habitat and food chain balance.
Albedo is the amount of solar energy reflected from the Earth back into space. Earth has an albedo rate of 30%. Higher albedo is equivalent to an increase in reflectivity that raises temperature in the atmosphere. Low albedo cools the atmosphere giving a positive feedback.
Methane (CH4) is a naturally formed gaseous chemical compound. It is a green house gas that can be naturally trapped under arctic ice. Due to the increasing rates of sea ice melting, this trapped gas has made its way into the atmosphere (methane is known as atmospheric methane when it escapes into the atmosphere)
Weather patterns bring different air temperatures to the arctic region, these have “gradually increased over the last fifty years, leading to reduced thickness of first-year ice at the start of summer”
The melting of arctic ice reduces salinity of the adjacent oceans and this “causes a cessation of deep convection and a climate state with decreased oceanic heat transport, decreased high-latitude atmospheric temperature, and larger sea ice extent”
Increased SSTs are causing loss of sea ice, and the water that replaces the ice is absorbing more solar energy and thus inhibiting ice expansion in autumn
Sea ice cover in the Earth’s arctic regions is threatened by human induced climate change