Tremendous cold made the Arctic ice-free last year.
We can see the frightening effects of the Arctic’s rising temperatures in the quick and devastating melt of the region’s sea ice. In 2008, Arctic summer sea ice reached the second-lowest extent recorded since the dawn of the satellite era — and winter sea ice reached its lowest recorded extent in 2011. Now climate scientists say the Arctic could be completely ice free in the summer by 2012.
A DEATH SENTENCE FOR SPECIES
With its unforgiving winds, tremendous cold, winters that never see the sun, and summers that never see the end of it, the Arctic seems like a hard place to eke out a living. Yet it’s home to highly specialized species that have evolved to make the most of their harsh environment, including its vast expanses of sea ice. Without enough sea ice, the entire Arctic ecosystem will unravel and its species will die.