Polar Bear in Ice

Why care about Arctic Sea-Ice change?

(Click here to return to menu page)
Sea Ice Laurier06
Sea-ice is "home" for a rich ecosystem, from Polar Bears and Walrus, to small algae INSIDE the ice. 
- how will they cope?
Walrus from allposters.com
(Credit: allposters.com)
Ice Amoeba

Ice Amoeba, the width of a human hair
(Credit: C. Krembs, PSC)
Ice-edge fisheries, especially the Bering Sea, produce over 50% of  all US caught fish. 
- how will we cope as that changes?
(Credit: American Pride)
Bristol Bay crab
(Credit: Bristol Bay, Fishing Express)

Retreating sea-ice will allow cargo ships to transit the Arctic, shortening trade routes, and open up areas for oil and gas exploration. 
- what are the environmental impacts?

UNEP Arctic shipping routes

Possible Arctic Shipping Routes

(Credit: United Nations Environment Programme)
Native people in the Arctic depend on sea-ice for transportation and subsistence
- how will they cope?
Whaling Camp by Don Schell
Whale Camp
  (Credit: Don Schell)
Changes in the Arctic may affect the climate of the rest of the world.   We are still working out how.
Sea-ice currently reflects sunlight back up into the atmosphere.  As the sea-ice melts, more heat from the sun will enter into the ocean.
Albedo ice and water from ESR

(Credit: Earth & Space Research, Seattle)
Freshwater from melting sea-ice may influence ocean currents in the North Atlantic possibly stopping the Gulf Stream flowing north to Europe. 
North Atlantic Circulation from DFO and POL Present Day North Atlantic Circulation - red = warm, upper waters (including the Gulf Stream); blue = cold, deeper waters.   (Credit: DFO, Canada and POL, UK)
(Click here to return to menu page)