Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Why arctic ice is so important

As long as there is ice, the water nearby is freezing temperature. The ice is absorbing energy from the sun and nearby water to break down its solid structure, so nearby water stays cold.

It takes 80 calories to melt a gram of ice. When that gram becomes water, it is still at freezing temperature. Then next 80 calories will then raise it to 176F degrees.

So the solar energy coming into an ice-free arctic will more quickly warm the water. A few hundred meters down on arctic coastal shelves there is methane that if exposed to a few degrees above freezing, will melt and bubble up. This is already happening.

Methane for its first 10 years in the air, is 100 times as strong as carbon dioxide for trapping energy. It takes about a year to spread around the earth.