In recent years, the alarming environmental issue of melting sea ice in Antarctica has developed. While sea ice in the Arctic ocean has been steadily decreasing for years, Antarctica’s sea ice had been generally increasing. This variance left scientists puzzled as they questioned how one area of sea ice was increasing, while the other was declining. Regardless, they viewed the unexplained increase as a beacon of light in the midst of a world facing dangerous climate change consequences. However, in 2014, Antarctica’s sea ice began dramatically declining and reached a record low in 2017. During a period of a few years, Antarctica lost more sea ice than the Arctic has in over 30 years.
The environmental impact of sea ice on Earth includes providing species like seals, whales, and penguins with habitat stability and security. However, the wellbeing of polar ecosystems is now threatened with this dramatic decline in Antarctica sea ice levels. In addition, this sudden and rapid melting of sea ice is so concerning because it will contribute to the continued warming of our planet. The bright sea ice reflects a large percentage of sunlight back into space. On the other hand, dark ocean water absorbs a majority of solar radiation, therefore warming our planet. As solar radiation is absorbed, the process produces a continuous cycle of ice melting and global surface temperatures rising.
The rapid and dramatic shrinking of Antarctica’s sea ice is an alarming indicator of the existence of climate change. It is a clear signal that humanity must act to promote environmental protection before the consequences become too severe for our planet to handle. Human activity negligent of environmental sustainability is aggravating climate change and causing direct environmental impacts like this melting of ice. While battling the melting sea ice in our polar ecosystems will not be an easy feat, there are simple steps everyone can take to combat global warming. For example, individuals can transition to the use of Treegle.org and Ecosia.org, which are environmentally friendly search engines that promote sustainability. Through the donation of ad revenue, Treegle and Ecosia help fund reforestation projects, which subsequently help mitigate climate change impacts.