8 Facts You Should Know about the Polar Ice Caps Melting

Our weather is becoming more unstable and dangerous. From the hurricane that broke the levees in New Orleans to the disastrous drought in California, many of us wonder what we can do. While there have been some alarming reports about the polar ice caps melting that proved to be very unscientific and dead wrong, this does not negate the subtle changes that have actually taken place.

It’s impossible to ignore our effect on polar ice caps even if nature takes part in the process as well. Here are eight important facts that everyone should know about our polar ice caps melting from confirmed recent scientific studies and data.

polar ice caps melting and a polar bear jumping from one to another

Polar Ice Caps Melting – 8 Things to Remember

The Global Temperature Really Has Increased

The earth’s atmosphere varies naturally and has been both much warmer and much cooler over the millennia. Right now, we have been living in a much cooler time. This cooler time is what we are adapted to, though, and a sudden change in that could cause great damage to humanity and other life that is evolved for this environment. According to NASA, “The global average surface temperature rose 0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius (1.1 to 1.6° F) between 1906 and 2005, and the rate of temperature increase has nearly doubled in the last 50 years.”

Greenhouse Gasses Really Are Increasing

Greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane result from our industrial activities as well as many other natural factors. Some do argue rightly that these gasses are released in larger quantities by natural activity because they are produced and reabsorbed by our biosphere. Since the industrial revolution, however, humans have been tipping that delicate natural balance. According to NASA, “since…about 1750, carbon dioxide levels have increased nearly 38 percent as of 2009 and methane levels have increased 148 percent.”

The Antarctic Is Not Currently Contributing To Sea Level Rise

Certain parts of the Antarctic ice shelf are currently melting, but this melting is outweighed by new ice accumulation elsewhere. In fact, the most recent study from NASA found that “Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away.” Of course, that means that NASA is still trying to figure out where exactly the sea level rise of 0.27 millimeters per year is coming from.

Antarctic Ice Gains Are Not Making Up For Arctic Ice Losses

ice caps on the surface of the water at dusk

Antarctic ice levels may be at a new maximum, but we are still losing ice from the Arctic polar ice caps melting at an astounding rate. Clair Parkinson, a scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has confirmed that “the decreases in Arctic sea ice far exceed the increases in Antarctic sea ice.”

The Sea Has Been Losing 13,500 Square Miles of Ice Per Year

This rate of polar ice caps melting has been being measured since 1979. During the first half of the period, this rate of loss was 8,300 square miles. It has now doubled in the last half of this measurement period to 19,500 square miles per year. This is about the size of the state of Maryland. Parkinson says there is a limit to this increase, of course. After all, “once all the Arctic ice is gone in the summer, the Arctic summertime ice loss can’t accelerate any further.”

But what would it look like if all of our ice melted, even if just during the summer? This wouldn’t happen unless there was a more severe global warming greenhouse event because when it’s summer on one pole, it’s winter on the other. Still, it’s interesting to contemplate just how much our sea level would rise in such a situation.

If All of Our Ice Melted, Our Sea Would Rise 216 Feet

What would the earth look like with our polar ice caps melting completely? Wet. National Geographic has actually made a graphic to show would the world would look like if this happened. Florida? Gone. In fact, the song “Dear Miami” is about just this. The complete loss of this state to global warming caused by our lavish lifestyle.

Why Is Sea Ice So Important?

According to National Geographic’s map, yes, Florida would be swamped out. We’d lose a lot of coastal cities, but would it really be the end of the world? After all, we’d still retain most of our land masses and we could just move inland… Right? No. Sea ice is important because it’s highly reflective. This means that it reflects excess radiation from the sun back into space and keeps our planet from overheating – not in the little way that it has been, but in a big way. A very dangerous way.

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, sea ice reflects 80 percent of the sunlight that hits it, whereas the dark ocean water absorbs 90 percent of the sunlight that shines on it. That is quite a serious trade off. This is also a clear explanation for why the rate of the arctic polar ice caps melting doubled over the past few years. As ocean temperatures increase from this changing dynamic, we could face some very extreme climate change. It will make the past two decades look like a cake walk.

What Happens As Ocean Temperatures Increase

It’s a basic rule of physics that warmer water holds less oxygen. The surface level of the ocean is heating much faster than the lower levels, and in the surface, oxygen is depleting at an alarming rate. In fact, oxygen levels are predicted to decrease even further–about 3% to 6% over then next century. The result is hypoxic and suboxic areas in the ocean that are incapable of supporting life. This includes surface plankton – the surface plankton that provides much of our atmospheric oxygen and the lowest level of the food chain in the ocean.

Final Thoughts

While it’s true that we’re facing environmental challenges, we can all do our part to ensure that we do not add to the damage. Our adaptable earth has been here for five billion years and it will be here for five billion more without us. However, lessening our greenhouse gas output and reducing pollutants will do more than just prevent our polar ice caps melting. It will ensure that our environment is free of toxins that harm wildlife and humans. We can learn to live healthier, more natural lifestyles. It’s a win-win for everyone. Do share your tips for lowering carbon footprints below.


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  • Climate Change – Have we got it right
    (An alternative theory)

    The Facts
    1. Sea levels have risen since 1880.
    2. The Sea Temperature is rising.
    3. The climate is getting warmer.
    4. The ice caps began to melt in 1979
    5. For thousands of years the many rivers of the world have been pouring millions of megaliters of water daily into the oceans of the world without affecting the sea level (A fact that many have ignored when talking about the rising sea levels – therefore is it feasible to think the melting of the ice caps could affect sea levels to a greater extent than the rivers of the world especially since they didn’t start to melt till 1979?)


    To find the answer to this question we need to look back in history as to what changes have occurred on the oceans of the world since the 1880’s.

    Prior to the late 1800’s there were only sailing ships that sailed the seas. These were all made of wood.
    Late in the 1800’s with the arrival of the steam engine we saw the construction of steel steam ships.
    Academies Principal states that when an object is placed in water it will displace the amount of water equal to their density. Therefore, to compare the displacement of sailing ships to steam ships would be like comparing the displacement of a tennis ball (being a sailing ship) and cricket ball (being a steam ship) when placed in a bucket of water. Whereas the tennis ball would float on top of the water with very little displacement of water. The cricket ball would sink resulting in a greater displacement of water than the tennis ball, but overall, the difference would be minuscular.

    The early 20th Century saw the demise of the sailing vessel as a commercial vessel and was quickly replaced by the steam ship. As time progressed the steam ship was replaced by vessels being powered by internal combusting engines (diesel engines). (Just as the horse was being replaced by the automobile on earth).

    These vessels were becoming larger as the 20th Century progressed with the first container ship being launched in the 1930’s. By the mid-20th Century, you had cruise ships being capable of carrying 500 passengers and naval vessels were now crewed by hundreds of sailors.

    As we neared the turn of the 20th Century, we started to see the construction of mega ships. Container ships now capable of carrying 4 or 5 times the number of containers being carried in the 1930’s, cruise ships now capable of carrying 5000 passengers, the naval vessels of the world now being crew by thousands of sailors not hundreds.

    To compare the displacement of these modern mega ships to those of the steam ship era on the level of the ocean is like comparing the displacement of a cricket ball (steam ship) to the displacement of a bowling ball (mega ship) in a bucket of water. The cricket ball would have minuscular effect on the level of water in the bucket. The bowling ball would certainly influence the level of water in the bucket. To such an effect that the bucket would overflow.
    Unlike the bucket of water, the oceans can’t overflow they can only rise.

    While we continue to build and launch these mega ships the sea level will continue to rise.

    There is a direct correlation between the increase in the number and size of commercial/naval vessels being launched during the 20th Century to the rise in the level of the sea. (Academies Principal in action)


    The scientists of the world are stating that due to the greenhouse effect the atmosphere is warming the oceans of the world. Is this correct?

    If the greenhouse effect is not causing the temperature of the oceans to rise what is causing the sea temperature to rise?

    Again, we must look back to the late 1880’s early 1900’s. We progress from the sailing ships to the steam ships. Both these types of vessels had no effect on the temperature of the ocean because:
    1. Sailing ships had no engines
    2. Steam ships did not use sea water to cool the engine of the ship
    However, once the internal combusting engine (diesel engines) replaced steam power, this influenced
    the ocean temperature. Initially not by much but as the number and size of the vessels became larger during the 20th Century so did the engines powering these vessels. This meant an increase in the amount of sea water used to cool the engines.

    Unlike the automobile the vessels of the 20th Century do not have a self-contained cooling system.
    The engines of these vessels are cooled by extracting sea water from the ocean. Once it has flowed through the cooling system of the engines to cool them. It’s discharged back into the ocean at a much higher temperature than when it was when extracted from the ocean. The mega vessels of today are extracting thousands of liters sea water daily to cool the engines, then discharging this heated sea water back into the ocean. These engines are running 24 hours per day 365 days of the year. They are like miniature water heaters dotted all over the world that are never turned off.

    There is a direct correlation between the rise in sea temperature with the increase in the number and size of the engines powering these mega vessels sailing the ocean today.
    The sea temperature is rising due to this discharge of heated water from these mega vessels back into the oceans resulting in a rise in temperature in the atmosphere causing climate change. This has not been caused by the Greenhouse Effect but by “the enclosed swimming center effect”

    By this I mean that when you walk into a swimming center the first thing you notice is an increase in the humidity of the center compared to outside. This is the effect of the pools in the center being slightly heated.
    The ice caps are melting due to the rise in temperature of the ocean.
    The rise in temperature of the world is a direct result of the rise in sea temperature thus causing Climate Change.


    Even if we achieve zero emissions by 2150 this will not stop Climate Change. Climate Change will continue while we build and launch these mega vessels powered by huge diesel engines. The sea level will continue to rise, and the sea temperature will continue to rise.

    It was only a few hundred years ago that the scientists of the world stated that the world was flat.
    People believed them until someone circumnavigated the world.

    Climate change have we got it right?

  • Just Brainstorming! Has anyone come-up with the gallons of water that results from the melt-off of the Ice Pack? The melt-off has a direct result on the rising sea and ocean levels! Also, the rivers that empty into the oceans and seas have a direct result on the rising sea and ocean levels! Thats billions of gallons of water monthly I think, just coming from the rivers. Does that warmer water that enters via the rivers increase the Ice pack melt-off? My thought is that pouring water on ice causes melting.

  • All this Global Warming is borne by the weakening of the Worldwide Water Cycle! We will have to understand that the polar ice comes out of a precipitation from the sub-stratosferial region, where the earth’s longitudes merge. At the same time, polar high-pressure-belts are borne, which have their origin at the equatorial permanent pressure by continuous tropical convergence. It is the daily wave of atmospheric convection by highest insolation of the tropics, what makes the water evaporating and expanding to the highest tropospheric altitudes. In this heights, the hyper-frozen humidity is transported to the poles in the resulting pressure-waves, by the Headly-Cells. There, the pressure increases, wobbling around the poles. This creates the polar pressure belts! The hyper-frozen humidity condensates under this special conditions of jerking, being shaken out from the heaven, together with the lowest temperatures on the earth, cumulating domes of ice.
    A quite resembling process, we can find at the higher glaciers, where similar preassure-shaking in the higher troposphere jerks out some ice, by condensation of hyper-frozen water-molecules. We perceive that phenomenon in the condense-stripes of higher-flying planes, where the condensing ice-cristals sublimate again after some instants.