A chunk the size of Argentina has melted away

A chunk the size of Argentina has melted away

A missing piece as large as Argentina or the combined territories of Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. As the Northern Hemisphere heats up from a record-breaking heat wave, a New alarm for Antarctica,

Antarctic sea ice has reached an unprecedented low for this time of year. in mid-July, Extensive snow covered an area 2.6 million square kilometers less than the average recorded from 1981 to 2010., This represents a decline of about 1.6 million square kilometers from the previous winter minimum set in 2022, which was 1.9 million square kilometers. This data was released by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The situation is very worrying and further investigation is needed to understand the reasons for this dramatic decline in Antarctic sea ice.

snow melt and chain effect

For some scientists this would be an extreme event, maybe even almost without return, Everyone must consider the consequences: but not least because of Antarctica’s vital role in regulating ocean and air temperatures, circulating ocean water, and maintaining an ecosystem vital to everything from microscopic plankton to the continent’s iconic penguins. concern with. Furthermore, the most obvious aspect may not be mentioned: melting ice contributes to a rise in ocean levels, which has a clear impact on the liveability of coasts.

The dramatic change in sea ice extent this year is a major concern, according to Marilyn Raphael, a geography professor and director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. their concern stems from This change cannot be explained simply by natural variation.But it seems to point to a wider and more worrying phenomenon linked to climate change.

Falling snow and a worrying trend

The Antarctic system has always been very variable – NSIDC glaciologist Ted Scambos explained to CNN – the current level of variation is so extreme that the last two years, but especially this year, have changed little radically compared to the previous 45 years.

American scientists have observed another unusual and extremely disturbing data in 2023: Much of this missing “Argentine ice” has melted in the past year alone., In fact, the amount of ice measured in mid-July in Antarctica turned out to be about 1.6 million square kilometers less than the amount measured in July 2022, a year earlier. Ice in the South Pole – experts still report – has reached the lowest level for this time of year since NASA satellite surveys began in 1979.

Just look at NSIDC’s updated real-time graph to understand the scale of the environmental disaster. The surface area of ​​the South Pole on 28 July 2023 was 14,376 km². Exactly one year ago, on July 28, 2022, the area of ​​Antarctica was 15,620 km². With respect to the period 1981–2010, it was 16,787 km² as on 28 July. These alarming figures indicate a worrying trend of rapid melting of Antarctic icewith potentially significant impacts on global climate status.

Growing threats to Antarctica

The risk of continued loss of sea ice in Antarctica is high. Until a decade ago, Antarctica was thought to be immune to climate changeBut today’s data shows that sea ice is shrinking at an alarming rate. This could have dire consequences for the ecosystem, with penguins and seals potentially finding themselves homeless. Additionally, loss of sea ice could lead to sea level rise, threatening coastlines and coastal communities.

According to Fabio Trincardi, director of CNR’s Department of Earth System Science and Environmental Technology, “Sea ice at the poles undergoes large seasonal, ostensibly, and inter-annual fluctuations, but the state of the system here fears buoyancy”. . it means that Sea ice could disappear entirelyWith disastrous consequences for the environment and humanity.

Worrying loss of ice at the poles

If the situation is dire in Antarctica, the situation is no better in the North Pole. During the first half of July, Arctic sea ice extent decreased at an average rate of about 81,800 square kilometers per day. The sea ice in the Arctic is about 1.31 million square kilometers less than the 1981-2010 baseline period.

Wanting to make a similar comparison to the previous comparison, if the South Pole lost an area of ​​ice equal to the area occupied by Argentina, then The North Pole Has Lost a Hat Bigger Than Peru (The extension of the country is 1,285,000 km²).

Melting of Glaciers: Consequences on Human Life

The melting of glaciers is a long-standing problem that is having a profound impact on human life. Its consequences are many and extend to various sectors including economy, environment and health.

In economic sectorFishing is declining due to melting glaciers due to changes in ocean currents and fish behavior. This is causing loss of jobs and income for the fishing communities.

In environmental sectorMelting glaciers are contributing to sea level rise, threatening coastlines and coastal communities. In addition, melting glaciers are releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change.

In healthcare sectorMelting glaciers are fueling the spread of new diseases, releasing viruses and bacteria trapped in the ice for millennia.

Therefore the consequences of melting glaciers are many and serious. To mitigate the effects of this event, it is necessary to act quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change.





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