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Unraveling the Threads: Climate Change and Its Impact on Arctic Ecosystems


Writer: Muhammed Emin Acar


Climate change is a threat to the Arctic Ecosystems.  It affects humans and all kinds of animals. Climate change can cause ice mountains to melt and change the terrain of the arctic areas. Today we will look into how climate change affects the arctic ecosystems and the reasons why humans and animals are affected by this threat.


The Changing Landscape: Melting Ice and Rising Sea Levels


The Arctic is experiencing a major transformation due to climate change. The increasing temperatures are causing the ice in the Arctic to melt extremely fast. The amount of ice melting affects the region's landscapes like mountains and glaciers. As the ice melts, a significant amount of freshwater is released into the oceans, leading to a rise in sea levels. This is not only an issue for arctic biomes but also for rising sea levels that are problematic for coastal areas, beaches, and islands worldwide. Human communities, biodiversity, and ecosystems in various parts of the world feel the impact of these rising sea levels, which shows how our planet is connected even if there are thousands of kilometers between the places of our planet's environmental systems (National Geographic 2023, April 10) (Science Direct 2023, March 15).




Disrupting Ecosystem Dynamics: The Ripple Effect


The rise in temperatures can result in ice patterns changing and this can disturb the life of arctic animals. For example, polar bears rely on sea ice as a platform for hunting seals. As the ice melts, polar bears face hard challenges like lack of access to food that threatens their survival. Another example is the Arctic foxes which are adapted to the harsh conditions of the region. Changes in snow cover affect their ability to camouflage and hunt, while altered prey availability can impact their reproductive success. Marine mammals, including seals and whales, are intimately tied to the sea ice, using it as a platform for resting, giving birth, and accessing prey. Disappearing ice differs their habitats, making it more difficult for them to find food and navigate. The disruptions in the timing and availability of resources lead to shifts in migration patterns and behaviors across the entire ecosystem. For instance, the migration routes of certain bird species may be affected, impacting their ability to find suitable breeding grounds (One Home 2022, October 18).



Polar bear suffering because of the melting ice


Human Communities and Traditional Lifestyles: Adapting to Change


The Arctic region is facing big problems because of climate change. This doesn't just influence the land and water but also the people who have lived there for a very long time. These people, who are used to living in the Arctic, are in trouble because their old ways of living are becoming harder. The ice in the sea is melting, making it difficult for them to hunt and fish like they used to. This is a big problem because their whole way of life depends on getting food from the land and sea. Also, the weather is becoming more extreme, which is bad for the homes and health of the people who live there. But how do we stop these changes that influence our planet badly? The Arctic communities need to adapt and be strong. They must find new ways to live and protect themselves from the changing environment. It's not just their problem; it's a problem for humanity because we all share the responsibility to stop climate change. If we don't, it's not just the Arctic that will suffer, but the whole world (Science Direct 2023, March 15).


References




Nunez, C. (2023, April 10). Sea level rise, facts and information. National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/sea-level-rise-1


Roy, P., Pal, S. C., Chakrabortty, R., Chowdhuri, I., Saha, A., & Shit, M. (2023, March 15). Effects of climate change and sea-level rise on coastal habitat: Vulnerability assessment, adaptation strategies and policy recommendations. ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301479722027608#:~:text=Sea%20level%20rise%20is%20one,of%20damage%20to%20coastal%20infrastructures











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