Global Warming: Impacts on the Arctic

Starr Gralla

Photo taken by Starr Gralla. Photo was taken the day Wisconsin had tornado warnings.

Global warming has been in the front of everyone’s mind lately, especially here in Wisconsin. One day it will be snowing outside, then the next day it will be 50 degrees and severe thunderstorms in December. These are both effects of global warming. 

Global warming is the warming of our planet. It’s quite simple, however there are many complex causes of global warming. Greenhouse gases  are the main cause, these gases consist of Carbon Dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and Fluorinated gases. When the sun’s heat waves enter our atmosphere they usually get reflected back out into space but greenhouse gases make it extremely hard for heat to leave our atmosphere. Therefore the heat stays trapped inside our atmosphere causing global warming. The EPA states “From 1990 to 2019, the total warming effect from greenhouse gases… increased by 45 percent.” The majority of greenhouse gases come from transportation and electricity generation. 

Global warming has taken a tremendous toll on the Arctic. The Arctic regions are melting faster than any other place on the planet. The arctic has a huge impact on the rest of the world, an ABC news report states that “ Widely considered by polar scientists as Earth’s refrigerator due to its role in regulating global temperatures.” The Arctic ice plays a very important part in regulating global temperatures. The ice in the Arctic reflects more than 90% of the sun’s heat back into space, but with the ice melting at such an extreme rate it’s getting harder for heat to be reflected out of the atmosphere. 

With the Arctic changing, so is our climate. The Arctic actually plays an important role in global climate with something called a jet stream. Jet streams are bands of strong wind that travel across the planet. These jet streams are getting weaker with the warmer temperatures so it allows them to extend farther than they normally would. Which would explain why we saw the Texas snow storm. 

Another concern with the warming of the Arctic is the sea level. The same ABC news report says that “half of the rate of sea level rise comes from the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.” Our oceans have risen over eight inches since the industrial revolution and it is predicted that in the next 50-100 years our oceans will rise by a couple meters. With the ice sheets melting there is a probability for tsunamis to occur, because of all the ice falling into the ocean. 

Global warming has become a great issue that needs immediate attention. If the world doesn’t change their ways by 2030 the effects of climate change will be irreversible.