The Race Against Extinction: Why Biodiversity in the artic Might Be the First to Go

The Arctic is normally known as the homeland of polar bears,narwhal,arctic fox and snowy owl ,however in the Arctic there live more than 21,000 known species of birds,fish,mammals,fungi,invertebrates and microbes species many of these being species are less known to researchers. The arctic also own this a variety of terrestrial and marine habitats, such as mountains,wetlands,pack ice,millenia – old ice shelves and huge seabird coastal cliffs. But all these biodiversity is continually affected by global warming caused by human actions.

The challenges for survival of the biodiversity the Arctic zone

Global warming threatens the Arctic because it’s the most impacted area, because the temperatures have increased and naturally the Arctic has negative temperatures, nevertheless in the last decades, reports have shown temperatures 3 times higher than the global average caused by climate change. For example, take the declining of the sea ice: Since 1973 around 43% of ice has disappeared. If this continues,in just a few decades, all the ice sea will decline.
Permafrost covers 24% of the northern hemisphere territory and it’s also found on the ocean floor. Permafrost means “permanently frozen” but with climate change the climate changes, permafrost is at risk of decline and this worries scientists because permafrost is the key point in storing carbon, keeping the ground solid, stopping erosion and supporting the infrastructure of the Arctic.

Sea acidification and rise

Currently 35% percent of raised water in the world come from arctic glaciers and ice caps. The Greenland Ice Sheet is the world’s  second- largest repository of freshwater, and the frequency that it’s raising only Greenland Ice could lead to a sea level rise of at least 14 centimeters. The high level of CO² caused by fossil fuels burning in the atmosphere has been highly absorbed by oceans turning more acidic ,and thus less saturated with essential calcium carbonate which  is the compound of the carapace.

Invasive “alien” species

As defined by the Convention Biological Diversity, alien species are (non-native) species whose introduction/spread into a new  space has threatened biological diversity in an ecosystem.There are already some in the Arctic for example the Rosa rugosa,a popular plant that probably arrived in the Arctic with “help”  altering the natural ecosystem.These alien species could increase with tourism,shipping,extraction, horticulture for instance which provide numerous pathways to bring alien species and disturb this ecosystem even more. Nevertheless in Arctic there is still time to freeze these alien species  by organized actions organized by the Arctic Council’s Arctic Biodiversity Assessment the Arctic Invasive Alien Species Action Plan with the Arctic Council’s ARIAS( Arctic Invasive Species) is turning the project into

region-wide success seeking partnerships with NGOs, Industries,academic institutions,Indigenous

peoples and local communities.

Natural resources extraction in Arctic

The extraction of natural resources in the Arctic has long been discussed because of the large reserves of oil and rare metals and can be very good for the economy, but it is also very dangerous when done indiscriminately, causing serious damage to the region’s biodiversity – oil spills are common throughout the

the world and are even more frequent in the Arctic region, where the fragile ice sheet and

extreme weather conditions make it difficult to handle the material.In 1989, an Exxon ship spilled about 11 million barrels of oil off the coast of Alaska;

This event is considered to be the most environmentally damaging oil spill of all time.

Future climate projections

A simple model that approximates the future based on the latest area report and the sensitivity of sea ice to Arctic temperatures is able to emulate future evolutions as simulated by climate models. Under a high-emissions scenario, It shows that it is “likely” (>66% probability) the Arctic will be ice-free sometime between 2036-2056, which is 10–20 years earlier than climate models suggest. Under a medium-emissions scenario we find a similar picture, with the Arctic projected to be free of sea ice at September sometime between 2042-2062—close to 15 years sooner than climate models suggest. Under a low-emissions scenario, the Arctic will likely not experience ice-free conditions that persist from July to October.

What might be some solutions?

Activism and Reducing your carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels can help save the Arctic*

Switch to renewable energy: We urgently need to transition towards a 100% renewable future by developing clean energy sources. Governments need to finance renewable resources for Arctic communities through programmers and incentives, including by redirecting existing subsidies for fossil fuel production and consumption and by promoting international cooperation to advance renewable energy provision.

Plan now for the changes happening in the Arctic : Local and regional plans that can reduce vulnerabilities and take advantage of opportunities to build resilience. We must prepare for a new normal in the Arctic because many of the changes now underway are already irreversible.


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