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Climate change and Sea Ice Decline by City Tech blogger Nigel Franklyn

The arctic sea ice at the poles play an integral role in the global climate system. The more white sea ice there is the more the incoming solar radiation is reflected back to space. But it has been monitored over the past decades and scientists have seen the temperature in the arctic increase at twice the rate as the rest of the globe, which is causing sea ice to melt. This means that the solar radiation is being absorbed by the dark ocean surface raising the temperature of the arctic waters.

The Albedo Effect is “the measure of the reflecting power of a surface” and puts the relation between the sea ice and the solar radiation into perspective. The albedo of snow-covered sea ice is 0.90, meaning it reflects 90% of the sun’s radiation. The ocean’s surface on the other hand is dark and it absorbs 90% of the sun’s radiation.

Now what does all of this has to do with the issue at hand? It is projected that if this cycle of less solar radiation being reflected rather than absorbed, by 2030 the arctic will be ice free! That the arctic sea ice melting at a rate of 12% per decade is very disturbing. 2030 is a mere 14 years away! What can we do to reverse this terrible trend and to save our planet to ensure that generations after us won’t have to suffer? No one knows, but hope is alive with major industrial companies cutting back on their greenhouse gas emissions and the shift to renewable energies as the source for our need for power. Maybe, just maybe, we have enough time to right the wrongs.

 

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