Environmental Impact of Global Warming On the Polar Regions

Essay by mazzarocks October 2007

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

Global warming is the gradual warming of the Earth's atmosphere supposedly caused by the burning of fossil fuels and industrial pollutants. The effects of global warming are becoming a main concern in today's society. The environmental impacts of global warming on the Polar Regions are polar bears dying, ice is thinning, polar caps melting, temperature change, sea levels rising and ocean temperatures are getting higher. In figure 1 there is a picture of the South Pole and in Figure 2 there is a picture of the North Pole.

One environmental impact is the death of polar bears. Scientific reports state the bears' icy habitat is melting due to global warming. Polar bears now have to swim long voyages to find food and these results in exhaustion, thus leading the bears susceptible to die from hyperthermia or drowning. Another impact on the poles is the ice thinning. A piece of Antarctic ice sheet, the size of Texas, is thinning, possibly due to global Warming.

The scientists blame changing winds around Antarctica which are causing warmer waters to flow beneath the ice shelves causing the ice to melt. The thinning is being observed by satellites, but it is difficult to tell how much ice is melting. Other scientists have identified a period from 1947-1977 where there may have been some slight warming and another period from 1977-1997 when the ice increased and the temperatures cooled.

In figure 3 is a diagram of the sea-ice extent in the Southern Hemisphere. Another source says that the Artic glaciers will thin, but the Antarctic ice sheet will thicken due to precipitation. Polar ice caps are also melting. In Figure 4 there is a picture of the polar ice cap in the North Pole. As you can see, the ice cap has reduced...