Friday, September 11, 2009

Massive changes in the Artic weather and ice levels happening

In the last few years, there have been a spate of reports on how global warming is continuing to march ahead, irrespective of the debate among countries and politicians about the steps needed to stop the emissions that contribute to global warming. Global warming is supposed to have a horrific impact on the ice levels of the polar regions and Greenland, with large scale reduction of the Artic and Antartic ice shelfs, along with melting of the huge amount of ice present in Greenland. This melting will release enough water to increase sea water levels, in turn devastating many low lying islands and low lying coastal regions. Scientists further fear that we are moving to an accelerated level of changes due to global warming, where global warming will become unsustainable (as an example, less ice covering the water means that the blue dark water will absorb more energy rather than the light reflected by white ice).
Global warming is already devastating the habitat of animals in the colder regions in the extreme North. The impact on polar bears is already pretty well known, but there are a whole range of animals that are affected (link to article):

The Arctic as we know it may soon be a thing of the past. That's the message from Eric Post, lead scientist of a new report into the effects of climate change on life in the Arctic. "It seems no matter where you look -- on the ground, in the air, or in the water -- we're seeing signs of rapid change," said Post in a press statement.
With the decline in sea ice and snow, animals usually seen at lower latitudes are being found in more northerly regions, including red foxes that have been displacing native Arctic foxes. Migratory caribou in low Arctic Greenland and elsewhere are declining in number as they have not been able to keep their calving season in synch with changes in plant growth. With the decline in caribou comes a knock-on effect to native Inuit hunters, according to the report's authors. Hotter summers could result in more insects and parasites that prey on the caribou, which could then also reduce the annual caribou harvest by local indigenous peoples.

This impact on animals and the native human populations is different from 'Survival of the fittest' since these are changes made by humans. Unfortunately, these are just an indicator of the impact of global warming, the changes are happening all around us.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 10:54 PM