DISCUSSION: Over the past couple of decades, a major issue which has come up into social media and scientific publication headlines again and again is the increased rate of melting Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. The reason for such concerns goes well beyond the physical ramifications of melting sea ice which include (but are certainly not limited to) global sea-level rises. More specifically, concerns pertaining to more rapid seasonal and net annual melting of Earth's net sea ice include the fact that melting sea ice may also gradually affect the behavior and strength of various global ocean currents. This is of particularly great concern to scientists around the world since global ocean currents are a key component of Earth's net ocean-atmosphere system. This is due to the fact that global ocean currents are responsible for the transfer of global heat energy between the tropical regions of the world, the mid-latitudes (i.e., where most people on Earth live and travel between), and the polar regions of the world.
Thus, if all of the sea ice on Earth were to (hypothetically) melt by the end of the 21st century, there would be legitimate concerns for the extent of the impacts of such large amounts of melted sea ice on the strength, orientation, and overall efficiency of critical ocean currents such as the North Atlantic Current or the North Pacific Current. Such a dramatic change in global seasonal and annual net sea ice coverage would likely begin to start triggering question(s) regarding the extent to which such major global sea ice deficits would affect the behavior of various ocean currents over the shorter-term (i.e., over the course of upcoming decades to centuries) or the longer-term (i.e., over the course of upcoming centuries to millennia). For example, would certain ocean currents be less efficient at transferring heat energy and therefore increase global energy imbalances? That is one of many questions being studied and researched now so as to better understand and anticipate what may happen in the future here on Earth. It is important to note that even a more accelerated change would still be gradual in the context of day-to-day scientific research, but should certainly not be ignored since this is a very real and concerning situation.
Having said everything above, it is imperative to understand that changes to Earth's oceans in the context of both seasonal and annual changes in the net coverage of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice will not happen overnight. Yet, it is very important to understand some of the potential impacts more rapidly melting (and not recovering percentages) of Earth's sea ice may have on the global climate system. Therefore, as stewards of planet Earth, it is the responsibility of people living on Earth to take as many measures as possible to help mitigate future man-based contributions towards this ongoing global threat.
To read the full story as published by NASA Earth, click on the following link: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2700/arctic-wintertime-sea-ice-extent-is-among-lowest-on-record/#.WrVL0xx4SSE.twitter.
To learn more about neat stories pertaining to global climate issues, be sure to click on the following link: https://www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/climate.
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz