The staggering loss of the Arctic Ocean’s oldest sea ice shown in time-lapse

ices.jpeg

(Emma Francis, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Johnny Wood, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • A new time-lapse video shows sea ice off the coast of Greenland is melting fast, with just 5% of the original mass remaining.
  • The oldest and thickest ice has been replaced by thinner ice, which melts more easily.
  • Researchers say climate change is to blame for continued loss.

Q: If you subtract 95% from something, what’s left?

A: An environmental crisis.

The “something” in question is the oldest and thickest solid layer of frozen water in the Arctic Ocean, which is melting so rapidly that just 5% of its original mass remains.

 

Scientists from the American Geophysical Union (AGU) have released a time-lapse video showing the ocean’s ice forming and receding over the past 35 years.

The region – which covers a 2,000 km arc from the western Canadian Arctic Archipelago to the northern coast of Greenland – will be the last to lose its perennial ice cover, climate models suggest. It could form an important refuge for species dependent on ice for their survival, ranging from tiny algae to mammals at the top of the food chain, such as polar bears.

But sea ice cover here is melting twice as fast as other places in the Arctic Ocean. An AGU study found as the region’s oldest, thickest ice disappears, it is being replaced by thinner, less stable ice that melts more easily.

The thickness of Arctic sea ice varies from year to year due to differing weather conditions, but reaches its maximum annual extent in March.

Average Arctic sea ice cover in March has been falling for decades.
Average Arctic sea ice cover in March has been falling for decades.
Image: Statista

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recorded a significant decrease over time in both the extent of ice cover and its thickness. In the 1980s, average March sea ice was more than 15.5 million square kilometres, but in recent years the average is closer to 14 million square kilometres.

Antarctica has lost almost 2 million square kilometres of sea ice cover since 2014.
Antarctica has lost almost 2 million square kilometres of sea ice cover since 2014.
Image: Statista


A similar pattern is seen in the Antarctic, which has lost around a sixth of its ice cover since 2014. The region has lost as much sea ice in the past four years as the Arctic lost in the past 34 years.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about climate change?

Climate change poses an urgent threat demanding decisive action. Communities around the world are already experiencing increased climate impacts, from droughts to floods to rising seas. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report continues to rank these environmental threats at the top of the list.

To limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C and as close as possible to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, it is essential that businesses, policy-makers, and civil society advance comprehensive near- and long-term climate actions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The World Economic Forum’s Climate Initiative supports the scaling and acceleration of global climate action through public and private-sector collaboration. The Initiative works across several workstreams to develop and implement inclusive and ambitious solutions.

This includes the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, a global network of business leaders from various industries developing cost-effective solutions to transitioning to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. CEOs use their position and influence with policy-makers and corporate partners to accelerate the transition and realize the economic benefits of delivering a safer climate.

On thin ice

AGU researchers have called the continued loss of Arctic sea ice a dramatic indicator of climate change.

Sea ice is thinning in two subregions of the Arctic, which have lost around a third of a metre in thickness each decade. Today’s average summer ice thickness is 1.5 metres thinner than it was in the 1970s.

The situation has implications for the rest of the planet, such as causing sea levels to rise and disturbing ocean currents and ecosystems.

According to NASA, the past four years have been the warmest on record and the planet’s average global surface temperature is now 1°C hotter than in the pre-industrial 1880s. Urgent action on a global scale is needed to avert an environmental catastrophe.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Trump’s Pandemic Failure: A Missed Opportunity

Young people struggling in digital world, finds latest OECD PISA survey

Governments must take further action to boost job opportunities at an older age

EU Youth Conference in Riga concludes with recommendations for ministers

Human Rights breaches in Russia, Afghanistan and Burkina Faso

5G is here: PT Expo China 2019 will be held October 31 – November 3, in association with The European Sting

FROM THE FIELD: Crisis in Kassala FROM THE FIELD: Crisis in Kassala

Car-free day – and the other 364 days of the year

Oh, well, you are wrong, Google responds to the European Commission

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70 – is it time for a new approach?

Humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world, warns UN

Google and Apple suddenly realise that doing business in EU is tough?

Parliament elects the von der Leyen Commission

David Attenborough’s worried about this ocean threat – and it’s not plastic

5 ways Coca-Cola is cleaning up its plastic footprint in Africa

The moment of truth for global energy transition is here

How the ‘California effect’ could shape a global approach to ethical AI

Somalia has ‘once in a generation’ gender equality opportunity – UN Women chief

‘No justification’ for attacks against civilians, UN envoy says on mounting cross-border violence in Gaza

The European Commission and EU consumer authorities publish final assessment of dialogue with Volkswagen

State aid: Commission approves €1.2 billion French “Fonds de solidarité” scheme for small enterprises in temporary financial difficulties due to coronavirus outbreak

Hurricane Dorian: Bahamas death toll expected to rise as thousands remain missing

The time for cities to get smart is now

Turning Europe into a giant wind farm could power the entire world

Taliban-led violence during recent Afghan polls leaves record high numbers of civilians dead – UN

‘Agile’, multilateral response vital to combat terrorism – UN chief Guterres

EU adopts rebalancing measures in reaction to US steel and aluminium tariffs

While EU Open Days 2013 discuss the 2020 strategy, Microsoft shares a glimpse of EU 2060

Fail fast, fail better: 3 ways companies can master innovation

Turkey caught in a vicious Syrian circle bringing terror and war at home

More than 3,400 classrooms damaged or destroyed by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, says UN Children’s Fund

Coronavirus: Commission welcomes Parliament’s quick green light for proposed new resources to protect lives and livelihoods

We can’t rid Asia of natural disasters. But we can prepare for them

“InvestEU”: MEPs support new programme to boost financing for jobs and growth

Here are 3 alternative visions for the future of work

From diamonds to recycling: how blockchain can drive responsible and ethical businesses

UN Committee says Ebola in DR Congo still an international public health emergency

The 8 pieces of digital DNA we need to thrive in the AI age

EU Commission: a rise in wages and salaries may help create more jobs

ECB asks for more subsidies to banks

Main results of EU Environment Council, 25/06/2018

European Junior Enterprise Network – Ready to take the Step Into the Future?

Global Report on Food Crises reveals scope of food crises as COVID-19 poses new risks to vulnerable countries

Nairobi summit: Women’s empowerment a ‘game changer’ for sustainable development

Why will Paris upcoming “loose” climate change agreement work better than the previous ones?

Killings and violence targeting ethnic group in DR Congo ‘may amount to crimes against humanity’

Global leaders and companies pledge to reduce the gender pay gap by 2030

How to create a world where healthcare is a right, not a luxury

UN chief praises Malaysia’s death penalty repeal as ‘major step forward’

Environmental labelling, information and management schemes are central to the circular economy

South African women’s fury at gender-based attacks spills onto the streets

3 lessons from India in creating equal access to vaccines

A good night’s sleep ‘washes’ your brain, scientists say

Antisemitism, intolerance, can be unlearned, Guterres tells New York commemoration

In this ‘wildland’ farm in Britain, species thrive and yields are high

What do Europeans believe about the crisis and the possible way out?

This fascinating map shows how food moves around the US

Billions for sustainable investments – Germany’s plan for a green recovery

UN chief urges Hamas and Israel to ‘step back from the brink of another devastating conflict’ in Gaza

In New Zealand it takes less than a day to start a business

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s