Climate change is REAL and is happening all around us. In some places it may seem hotter than usual and in other places cooler. The seasons don’t seem exactly right but somehow instead seem ‘off schedule’ confusing nature – plants, animals, insects, humans. Storms are increasing in intensity and frequency – often with little warning. There are still floods and droughts in many parts of the world.

There is no need to be intimidated by Science and in fact Scientists need our help in public advocacy. There are two great websites I find informative and not to ‘over the top’.

From research on these three sites I have found some staggering facts:

  • Arctic sea ice was stable between 1979-2000 but has since reduced by 50%
  • NOAA scientists predict there will be no arctic sea ice by 2035
  • Global surface temperatures were the ninth warmest on record in 2012

Arctic Sea Ice Down 12% per Decade
Land Ice Down 100 bn ton/year (Greenland) ½ that (Antarctica)

Sea Levels Up 3.18mm per year
Global Temperatures Up 1.5 degrees F avg temperature increase since 1880
CO2 Up 395 parts per million

Arctic sea is frozen ocean water

  • Plays a major role in Earth’s global systems & represents 10% of Earth’s surface
    – Keeps polar regions cool
    – Influences climate
    – Provides habitat for animals

Sea ice creates an ecosystem that supports animals – krill, cod, walruses – both top/bottom of ice provide places for animals to hunt, hide, rest, mate & give birth. Without sea ice arctic plants and animals will go extinct

What causes sea levels to rise?

  1. Melting Land Ice (i.e., Greenland Ice Shelf)
    – Warmer temperatures will melt Greenland’s Ice Sheet – raising sea levels by more than 25 feet
  2. When sea ice melts it expands

Fact: Ocean and air temperatures are increasing

  • CO2 into the atmosphere
    – Human activities like deforestation & burning fossil fuels
    – Natural acts like respiration & volcanic eruptions
  • Heat absorbed by these gases is radiated back to the Earth’s surface
  • The Ocean then absorbs heat from the air – heats it up – and melts the sea ice
  • The more ice that melts, the more ocean surface is exposed to absorb the heat from the sun. Dark surfaces absorb (light ice reflects) so the ocean becomes warmer further melting more ice. Can you see the circular reference?

Why do we care?

  • Warmer ocean water affects atmospheric patterns like the jet stream, which may lead to more extreme weather events in the US, Europe and Asia – i.e., ‘severe climate change’.
  • The ocean bottom affects sea ice cover, which affects the amount of vapor coming from the surface of the ocean into the air, which in turn influences cloud cover.

What do we do?

  • Individuals – make choices about how you live (recycle/what you drive)
  • Corporations – do the right thing – take advantage of opportunities to set green examples.
  • Nations – provide leadership – make climate change politically viable