Both Poles Are Shrinking From Global Warming

Both Poles Are Shrinking From Global Warming

The north and south poles are dwindling at a rapid rate as the Arctic and Antarctic warm two to three times faster than the rest of the world. On February 6, 2020, Antarctica hit its hottest temperature on record at 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit, and five months later, the Siberian city of Verkhoyansk reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, a total anomaly. This March, record-breaking heatwaves hit both the north and south poles. Parts of Antarctica were more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average, and parts of the Arctic warmed more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average.

ABC7 News Bay Area: Earth's north and south poles are 50-70 degrees above normal, March 23, 2022.

Facing Future: Melt Down at the Poles | COP26, December 2, 2021.

Why This Matters

Melting ice at the poles will affect us all with sea level rise being a major consequence. The US coast is projected to rise at least a foot over the next 30 years. We’re already seeing the effects of this with only 15.5% of the world’s coastlines remaining intact. Just Wednesday, two homes on North Carolina’s Outer Banks collapsed from beach erosion due to rising water levels.

Ice melt also fuels global warming because without the frozen layer reflecting the sun’s rays, they are absorbed by the ocean, which raises water temperatures, causing heatwaves, floods, and hurricanes.

“What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” Admiral Karl L. Schultz, commandant of the US Coast Guard, told Aryn Baker in an article in TIME.

CNN: 'Mind boggling' | See how rising sea levels will affect the coasts, February 17, 2022.

NOAA: Sea Level Rise Report Release, February 15, 2022.

Now This: How Melting Arctic Ice Affects the Earth, August 22, 2021.

Antarctic Sea Ice At Risk

Antarctic sea ice hit a record low this February, shrinking below 772,000 square miles due to a combination of La Niña conditions and human-caused climate change. A huge section of the Larsen Ice Shelf shattered and fell into the ocean in just three days, while the Thwaites Glacier (AKA the "Doomsday Glacier”) could collapse in just 3 to 5 years, resulting in global sea level rise of up to 25%. Additionally, as Antarctica warms, many species that live there are under threat, including the Emperor penguin, which is at severe risk of extinction since they need sea ice to lay and incubate their eggs. 

MSNBC: 'Doomsday Glacier' | Experts Raise Alarms About Cracking Antarctic Ice Shelf, December 30, 2021.

WW0 Conversation: Dr. Michalea King and John Kerry Instagram Live conversation streamed on September 9, 2020.