Scientists warn of record wintertime lows in climate crisis at the poles. Is it time to start paying attention?
According to experts, since 1979, 620,000 square miles of winter sea ice cover have been lost – twice the size of Texas.
Now, experts warn that the extent of ice at both of our planet’s poles has reached worrying record lows.
Scientists have revealed that in the arctic ocean, new record lows for wintertime season have been registered, supposedly caused by long-term trends of global warming.
Sadly, the same is happening on the opposite pole on Earth. According to experts—based on March 3 data—ice around Antarctica have hit a worrying record low clearly seen in satellite images from space.
This is a big deal and we net to start paying attention
New data is indeed worrying. Arctic Ice plays a CRUCIAL role in maintaining our planet’s Atmosphere. The ice acts as a massive mirror reflecting solar energy that our oceans otherwise absorb, drastically influencing ecosystems.
Experts say that this effect is even more important during summer time since the sun is high in the sky in the arctic. In the wintertime, the sun doesn’t rise for months in the Arctic circle. During this time, the impact is mostly felt in Earths atmosphere.
According to Jennifer Francis, a climate scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey: “In places where sea ice has been lost, those areas of open water will put more heat into the atmosphere because the air is much colder than unfrozen sea water.”
“As winter sea ice disappears, areas of unusually warm air temperatures in the Arctic will expand. These are also areas of increased evaporation, and the resulting water vapor will contribute to increased cloudiness, which in winter, further warms the surface.”
Interestingly, during February or March sea Ice around the arctic expands to its biggest extent.
During the 2017 winter maximum, scientists report that the ice covered just 14.49 million square kilometers (5.59 million square miles) on Feb. 22, almost the size of Russia.
That is fractionally smaller than the previous winter low of 14.58 million square kilometers (5.62 million square miles) set last year in satellite records dating back to the 1970s, said scientists from the University of Bremen in Germany
Speaking to Reuters, Georg Heygster, of the Institute of Environmental Physics at the University of Bremen said: ‘We’ve passed the winter maximum.’
Sadly, the ongoing trend of shrinking ice around the North Pole of our planet—in recent decades—has been one of the greatest signs of climate change.
A U.N. panel of climate experts has warned that sea ice in the arctic could VANISH by 2050 on a trend of rising emissions.
Data from Antarctica isn’t much better. According to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) Sea ice around Antarctica hit a record low for the southern summer last month.
This has led to more ocean water being exposed to the sun rays in summertime, something that can greatly accelerate global warming due to the fact that blue water soaks up more of the sun’s heat than white ice or snow, which reflects it back into space.
The extent of the ‘damage’ is great. According to reports, the new record low follows record high temperatures in December, January and February around the globe and in the Arctic.
Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland said that ”The new record low follows record high temperatures in December, January and February around the globe and in the Arctic. The atmospheric warmth probably contributed to this lowest maximum extent, with air temperatures up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit above average at the edges of the ice pack where sea ice is thin.”
“It is likely that we’re going to keep seeing smaller wintertime maximums in the future because in addition to a warmer atmosphere, the ocean has also warmed up. That warmer ocean will not let the ice edge expand as far south as it used to,” Meier said. “Although the maximum reach of the sea ice can vary a lot each year depending on winter weather conditions, we’re seeing a significant downward trend, and that’s ultimately related to the warming atmosphere and oceans.” Since 1979, that trend has led to a loss of 620,000 square miles of winter sea ice cover, an area more than twice the size of Texas.