NASA has released a video showing the fluctuation of polar sea ice in the Arctic Sea from 1984 to 2016. According to the information given in the video, the first ice loss occurred in 1989 for several years. It happened again in the mid-2000s.
At that time, many years of aging ice covered 20% of the total ice in the Arctic. In 2016, this robust, mature ice shrank by only 3%.
In 1984, the amount of old polar ice within the total ice extent was 1.86 million km2. As of 2016, this old ice covers only 110,000 square km.
Why is the polar ice cap so important?
Large amounts of old, deep-formed ice are critical to prevent the rapid melting of new ice. Think about putting ice in a glass and then pouring water over it. If you only have a little ice, the freshwater melts the ice faster while also cooling the water a bit.
But if you fill a glass with ice and then fill it with water, more of the ice remains when the water cools quickly; You stay cool with a glass of water.
Watch a time-lapse video of the disappearing polar ice caps in the Arctic:
For new ice to form, it must be able to build on itself and catch up with old ice formations.
The amount of old ice and newly formed ice fluctuates throughout the season. It melts in the summer and then freezes again in the winter. Scientists are looking at an increase in the amount of ice melting compared to previous apricot seasons.
With the old ice melting so quickly, there is little to insulate the new ice from freezing. In addition, it creates a higher water temperature, further increasing the melting process.
The importance of ice melting is that ice reflects rays from the Sun away from Earth. With less ice, the Sun’s rays fall more on the Earth’s surface, causing the temperature of the Earth and water to rise.
This action is what creates global warming.
Global warming refers to the temperature of the Earth, not the average temperature we see based on our climate or daily weather patterns.
A recent Washington Post article in the Capital Weather Gang reported that the Arctic near Greenland is currently facing a 40-degree increase in average temperatures. Marco Tedesco, an ice researcher at Columbia University, said warmer temperatures are also increasing in eastern and central Greenland.
This increase in temperature created warming, affecting about 45% of the ice. While some acknowledge that weather patterns can often change rapidly, they also recognize the largest warming trend since 2012. Greenland saw its largest ice melt in 2012. Currently, 2019 is poised to surpass this record.
A planned expedition
Scientists hope to be in the Arctic in September, the year’s warmest month. The Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climates is planning an expedition to start on September 20th. People from different parts of the world contribute to the “last chance.” The Alfred Wegener Institute, a polar research center from Germany, is taking over the management and providing the vessel, the RV Polarstern.
Ships from Russia, China, and Sweden are being monitored again. Japan will measure carbon by moving from sea ice into the atmosphere through flow chambers.
Currently, the Swiss are developing bladder equipment made of snow. More than $25 million in grants, equipment, and logistical support is provided by the National Science Foundation and other US agencies.
The survey vessel will select a specific flow through the ice sheet; hopefully, their schedules will point them in the right direction to end up near Greenland at the end of a long year.
The goal is to study glaciation, melting, and the environmental consequences of melting ice in the Arctic and the more enormous ocean. They also need to conduct research on water in the Arctic.
They must determine the effects of heat trapped between the Sun’s rays reaching below the surface of the especially thin ice and the heavy clouds lying above it.
Closing thoughts on shrinking ice cover
It is the first research vessel to go to the Pole for an entire year. Many scientists fear that this ship may be the last for a long time. Some of the older researchers believe that summer ice will last only 10-30 years, and future scientists will see water only on the next expedition.
Global warming and climate change are not new to our planet. It has undergone significant changes over the billions of years of its existence. In the past, we had to rely on the footprints of our planet to guide us through the events of Earth’s dramatic history.
The current generations of mankind may be the first that scientists and the public can observe, document, and prepare for this pain in advance.