Arctic

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by bunnies4eva
Last updated 4 years ago

Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
Geography

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Arctic

Research collected in 2014 shows that since 2005, approximately 30-40% of ice mass in Canada has been lost. Reasoning behind the sudden melting of ice caps is mainly due to the increase in water levels (which causes erosion and flooding) and the increase in temperature due to greenhouse gases.

The elders of the Inuit community use their traditional skills to foresee the weather. They have noted that there is a change in wind patterns and cloud patterns and is not how it used to be. This is due to the drastic weather changes caused by climate change. The very unpredictable weather makes it difficult for the elders to pass on their knowledge about how to foresee the weather and also makes it dangerous and difficult to travel the land. Travel routes are much affected due to increase in sea level, making boat travelling difficult.

The health of the Inuits has also rapidly declined. Due to permafrost conditions, drastic and unpredictable weather changes and changes in ice thickness and distribution, this has allowed less access to wildlife. Therefore this does not allow the Inuits to traditionally hunt for their food and need to buy food from either overseas, or from other parts of the country. Not only is this food expensive, but also it is usually unhealthy and causes many health issues. The freshness of the food cannot last long in the warmer temperatures and the melting permafrost. Documentation has already been recorded of Inuits who have suffered injuries whilst travelling the ice, mental problems due to climate change and Inuits becoming sick due to the unfamiliarity with the new food that they have had to start eating.

Nunavut, Canada

The Arctic

Inuits live in Greenland, Northern Canada, Alaska and in Siberia. Culturally, Inuits have had a close bond to their land, the sky, wildlife and most importantly, ice. They have adapted overtime to survive in the ice-cold temperatures in the Artic. The well-being and the culture of the Inuits are quickly decreasing due to climate change.

Inuits

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Importation of food from other countries is at risk due to the instability of the ground (permafrost). The airports in Nunavut are no longer as safe to use, thus causing much stress to attempt to gather food. The melting of the permafrost allows more fish species to be around the waters of Canada. However, even if this may be good for fisherman, it also increases chance of parasites and more predators.

Permafrost

One tenth of fresh water supplies come from Greenland’s ice cap alone. If the entire land melted, then the earth’s sea level would increase by 7 metres. Out of the 2.5 million cubic km that is the ice cap of Greenland, 125 cubic km has melted every year for over 30 years. This is an increase in 30% as to what it was usually. Season temperatures have increased by 5 degrees Celsius in winter and 3 degrees Celsius in spring and autumn.

Greenland

Although the sudden increase in ice melting may concern some, it actually benefits those in Greenland, even the Inuits. The land is now warm enough to grow crops that would not have grown before. Some examples are: potatoes, thyme and tomatoes. Even the Inuits have found that the animals they are hunting down are not fatter due to eating the crops.

The Permafrost, sometimes known as cryotic soil, is soil that is at or below the freezing point of water for over two years. It’s like a dormant layer of soil, just beneath the active layer.

Due to climate change, the Permafrost is all melting. This is a huge issue, because there are many plants and animals frozen inside of it, meaning that as it melts, they all decay, which releases loads of carbon dioxide and methane back into the atmosphere, which contributes further to the whole global warming thing.

Climate change is especially significant in the Arctic regions, because the ice reflects the sun’s rays back up into the atmosphere back out into space, which keeps the rays from warming the lands. This means that the sea ice, glaciers, and land ice assist with cooling the earth. Without the ice, the Earth would absorb even more heat, which means that the effects of global warming would dramatically escalate.

In the Arctic, there used to be a lot multi-year ice, which is ice that has been built up for many years until it is extremely thick (often ranging between 6 and 12 feet in thickness), which makes the ice very stable. A study was published in 2007, showing that in 1987, 57% of the ice observed was around 5 years old, and about 25% of it was at least 9 years old. The ice was observed again 20 years later, and the studies showed that only 7% of the ice was at least 5 years old, and almost all of the ice older than 9 years had disappeared. This is mirrored by a large decrease in the thickness and amount of sea ice in the Arctic.

The Arctic Sea Ice extent has slowly been declining over the years. The average rate is a 3.2% decline every decade, and has decreased by 14% since the 70s. The Arctic is warming at about twice the average rate of the rest of the world.

The melting of the Arctic ice isn’t all negative though, because the melting of the ice would open up different trade routes, and help with fishing and the exploitation of minerals. More warmth in the Arctic means that their growing season for plants would be longer, which would assist in combatting the effects of global warming.


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