The Arctic – big changes, super-fast

from The Science Show:

The Arctic is changing at great speed. So fast that regular visitors such as Larry Mayer can see it changing. Summer sea ice is shrinking in size and becoming thinner. Larry has been visiting the Arctic each summer since 2003. Within coming decades, it is likely there will be no summer sea ice. This ice forms a platform for numerous animals. Without it, they will be gone. As Larry Mayer explains to Gregg Borschmann, the changes are occurring faster than predicted by climate models. So what to do? Sit back and watch? Or do something? Hugh Hunt from Cambridge says geoengineering could be employed, such as spraying particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect incoming radiation. But such action could only proceed after extensive experimental trials. And to date there have been none. And there no funds for such work. Meanwhile as the shape of the environment changes, countries surrounding the Arctic Ocean are claiming additional territory within their exclusive economic zones leading to a rush to exploit oil and gas reserves. Tim Gordon and Heather Bauscher have just returned from observing the Arctic environment. They travelled by yachts, something only recently possible as the areas they visited have been covered with summer ice until recently. They noted dramatic changes in the open waters. Tim Gordon suggests that as organisms at the bottom of the food chain are replaced, there may be additional monumental shifts in wildlife.