The Artic region reaches the most northern part of our planet. Home to huge stretches of cold tundra, temperatures oscillate between a numbing -43°C – +13°C. The boundary stretches south to encompass parts of Alaska, Canada, Finland, Greenland, Norway, Russia and Sweden.
There is no physical North pole, since there is no land here. The Arctic is made up of floating sea ice that changes seasonally. On September the 15th 2020, the ice reached its likely annual lowest. However, this year was no ordinary low. It logged the second lowest level of sea ice ever recorded. 1.44 million square miles of it, to be precise.
Unsurprisingly, the lower levels of sea ice correlate with warmer temperatures. In spring, the Arctic experienced a Siberian heat wave with temperatures soaring 8-10°C above average. This started the ice melt season early.
Nathan Kurtz, a NASA sea ice scientist spoke “The earlier the melt season starts, the more you generally loose.” As temperatures increase, the ice is beginning to not only shrink, but also thin out. Ice that has built up over many winters begins to diminish.
“The Artic tundra is one of the coldest biomes on Earth, and it’s also one of the most rapidly warming,” reports Logan Berner, global change ecologist. The increasing water temperatures and loss of ice are resulting in Arctic greening. Which is, an undeniable sign of climate change.
As the polar climate warms, changes to the Arctic tundra have been observed. Landsat data from 1985-2016 has shown a ‘greening’ at 38% of tundra sites across Alaska, Canada and western Eurasia.
“This Arctic greening, we see is really a bellwether of global climatic change – it’s a biome-scale response to rising air temperatures,” said Logan.
Arctic greening can mean an increase in plant growth and density. While this might sound good at first, it can have harmful consequences.
“When the tundra vegetation changes, it impacts not only the wildlife that depend on certain plants, but also the people who live in the region and depend on local ecosystems for food. While active plants will absorb more carbon from the atmosphere, the warming temperatures could also be thawing permafrost, thereby releasing greenhouse gasses,” reads an article from NASA Goddard Space Flight.
December is finally here, we are taking time to step back and reflect on the rather bumpy year that has unfolded. These times have proved challenging time for many… People, businesses and charities alike. Yet amongst these difficult times, it is clear that there has never been a more vital time to take action for…Read More
53 millions masks are sent to waste each day in the UK. The question is, how many end up elsewhere? A clean up appeal undertaken by MCS found 1/3 of beaches littered by face masks and gloves… So what happens when masks don’t make it to the bin? Face-masks are made up of a cotton…Read More
Illegal net fishers face fines for several charges within nursery area of Southampton waters. Rules and regulations exist within the industry of fishing to protect fish stocks, manage environmental degradation and ensure a stable food supply remains for future generations. Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) encourage and enforce compliance with local policies around…Read More
International concern of a stranded oil tanker has grown after months of talk about the risk of spilling. The Venezuelan oil tanker FSO Nabarima has caused an uprise of environmentalists, activists and those concerned for the marine environment. A social media campaign set out by the non-profit organisation Fishermen and Friends of the sea urged…Read More
One step ahead in protecting the ocean and marine life. Thursday 1 October 2020 saw the ban of plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. This new enforcement aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste reaching, and thus harming the marine environment. Why is this a big step? Approximately 5,000 items of marine plastic…Read More
Have you ever wondered how you can positively impact the ocean? Beaches swamped with plastic and news of serious oil spills can leave us all questioning what we can do. It is time to be empowered and know that there are ways to help, even from the comfort of our homes! Reflecting on the way…Read More