What does it mean for the rest of the world?
The Arctic territories have recently registered concerning temperatures, being the warmest of the past 3 million years. However, when talking about melting ice in the Polar caps, the consequencies don't seem to be obvious to many of us.
Arctic ice plays a key role in balancing our planet's energy. Being covered by snow, the brightest natural surface, the ice reflects about 80% of the solar radiation. Simultaneously, the Arctic ocean is the darkest natural surface and is capable of absorbing 90% of incident solar radiation.
A change in this delicate balance can affect, among others, the quantity of sunlight the planet absorbs, how quickly it warms up, rising sea levels and the dangerously increasing amounts of CO2. A loss of polar ice also implies a danger for wildlife and unpredictable food production, due to unstable damaging weather.