The Polar Ice is Melting

How Much Ice is There?

The ice at the North Pole floats on the Arctic Ocean. It expands every winter then shrinks again in the following summer.

This ice is slowly melting.  

The area covered by sea ice is 40% smaller than it was in 1979, when the first satellite measurements were done. This doesn’t mean that the polar ice is getting smaller every year. The warmest year so far has been 2012, when the ice cover shrank a lot. 2013 and 2014 were cooler years and the area of ice cover grew a bit.  

However, there was less ice in the Arctic in 2014 than in any year since satellite measurements began.

The Arctic ice is also getting thinner.  

In 1980, the average thickness of Arctic ice was about 2.2 metres or 7 feet. By 2014, the average ice thickness was about 1.5 metres, about five feet. Scientists say that before too long, there may not be any ice in the Arctic Ocean in summer.

Why is the Ice Melting?

The ice is melting because of global warming. Both the sea and the air in the Arctic are getting warmer.

What does this Mean for the Arctic Animals?

If there’s less ice in the Arctic, it will be harder for animals that fish from the ice – such as polar bears and seals – to survive.

There will also be effects on animals that live in the sea, because many of them need cold water and don’t grow nearly as well in warm water. For instance the Arctic cod, an important fish species that many other animals eat, grows best in cold water and can’t survive at all if the water gets too warm. 

Further information:

The Story

The ice at the North Pole is melting and Vixen, the smallest reindeer, is afraid.

Santa’s toy workshop will soon fall into the sea, he has nowhere to go, and the elves who make the Christmas toys for him are threatening to leave.They’re terrified of an old enemy, but won’t say who it is, only that the dark is rising again.

Will this be the last Christmas?

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