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Sea Ice Essay

In: Science

Submitted By mahubbard
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Sea Ice Explain the trends and why they occur

The overall concept of global warming has rapidly influenced the world’s awareness of how our uses of fossil fuels are destroying the natural world. From 1979 to 2000, the sea ice conditions were generally stable. Since then, year by year there has slowly been a decline in Arctic sea ice, most obviously seen from 2008 to present. Year after year scientists are seeing a lower starting measurement of sea ice coverage, though the pattern remains relatively similar, it’s obvious that the amount of sea ice is declining at a rapid rate, nearly half a million square kilometers within just two years. Scientists have also noticed a drastic drop in the thickness of the ice. Since 1972 there has been a consistent decline of about 3% every decade, but a steak of low ice years from 2002 – 2004 brought the decline average to 7.7% per decade. Based on the patterns that we’ve been seeing, it can only be expected that this will continue to decline rapidly as long as the Earth’s temperature continues to rise.

So why is this happening? There is still plenty of cold weather that we all have to bare, but if there is so much cold and snow that we experience, why is the Arctic sea ice melting? The answer unfortunately lies in the hands of humanity. Although the current loss of ice seems small, it’s going to make a very quick decline due to something referred to as “albedo”. Albedo is the polar reflectivity, so when the ice melts, we lose this and leave dark open waters wide open to absorb the sun’s energy rather than reflecting it. Therefore the more small amounts of open water we leave are absorbing more heat, leading to larger areas of open water, which then leads to overall warmer water temperatures in which ice does not form. This is more so the direct effect that is causing the ice to melt but is of course caused by the larger...

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