Loss of Arctic Ice

ImageThe warming climate melts the arctic ice more and more every year to about 4 million sq.km this year. As arctic ice shrinks, it exposes the vast fossil fuel reserves containing conventional oil and natural gas. The Arctic is predicted to hold 22% of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas. When an ice-free Arctic becomes reality, it’ll likely open the door to a huge drilling territory for a thirsty oil industry. Countries like Norway, Russia, Canada, USA, and Greenland will definitely take advantage of this changing environment and claim as many land as possible. So far, Canada’s claimed land are closest to the deepest oil-filled basin. Not only the melting ice will provide more oil, it will also create a shortcut route for ships coming from Europe to Asia, vice versa. Instead of going from Europe to the Panama Canal in Central America, ships can now travel the Northwest Passage or the Northern Sea route to save time and energy. Similar to the Panama Canal, Canada can charge ships thousands of dollars for every ship depending of their size and taxes. The oil and the new passage route will most likely create an economic boom for Canada. The loss of arctic ice can lead to a prosperous Canada but it has it’s consequences. All the melting of ice will cause an increase in the sea level and may cause flooding in many places. In addition, it can disrupt ocean currents that regulate the global climate system and weather patterns by unbalancing the cool water and hot water current system. Lastly, we can’t forget the cute polar bears and other arctic animals living in the arctic. Their habitats will obviously be destroyed and pollutions from drilling oil will also affect them. We’ll never know how much the arctic ice can change the world until it happens.

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2 responses to “Loss of Arctic Ice

  1. There are some really good (and somewhat disturbing) documentaries about hydrocarbon exploration in the North Pole; they’re either on Discovery or Oasis

  2. The Arctic definitely has more potential impacts once it melts, but we should keep in mind that melting of the Antarctic would actually cause the sea level to rise more, since icebergs (in the Arctic) don’t affect the sea level.
    @lena Oasis is awesome 😀

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