Tue. Sep 21st, 2021
The Arctic hasn’t been this warm for 3 million years

The worsening climactic factors all around the world are not hidden from anyone. Climate change has been a controversial topic for a long time now. This change is now casting its adverse effects on the Arctic Ocean. Sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean shrank to a low-point in mid-September. This year it measures just 1.44 million square miles (3.74 million square km), the second-lowest value in the 42 years. The ice today covers only 50% of the area it covered at that time in late summer.

What is happening in the Arctic atmosphere?

After relevant observation and research, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has addressed the issue of increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Today, the atmospheric CO2 concentration levels are about 412 parts per million. The last time Earth reached this level was three million years ago, during the Pliocene Epoch. Geoscientists, who have studied climate change in detail, believe that the situation with the Arctic Ocean is a warning to humans. 

The Arctic hasn’t been this warm for 3 million yearsThe Pliocene Earth

In 2013, scientists who researched the sediment cores from Lake El’gygytgyn found out that they prove that the Pliocene Arctic was very different from its current state. The Arctic is almost a barren land in 2020. During Pliocene, the Arctic has a similar warm atmosphere, and the Greenland Ice Sheet did not exist. Pliocene Earth had ice only in Antarctica, and that, too, was at the risk of melting away. Sea levels were higher due to the absence of these sheets. The areas that are now California’s Central Valley, the Florida Peninsula and the Gulf Coast were underwater. Major coastal cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, and Seattle were underwater as well. Due to the temperatures, agriculture was difficult too.

Earth’s future

Human activity today has fanned the flames to increase CO2 levels in the atmosphere. The Industrial Era in the 1750s had atmospheric CO2 levels at 280 parts per million. Within 200 years, humans have managed to reverse the whole system. They have managed to create an atmospheric situation not experienced for millions of years. Earth is getting warmer each day. The ice cover in the Arctic is melting. In early August, Canada’s last remaining ice shelf collapsed into the sea. 

If the climate deteriorates at this pace, Earth will soon return to Pliocene conditions. If that happens, everything will change for the human race. Taking necessary steps now is the only solution to this situation.

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By Smrithi Arun

An enthusiastic media student who is passionate about film-making and writing

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