The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet as the spike in heat-trapping gases has led to the disappearance of sea ice, which acts as a cooling agent by reflecting away sunlight. Some scientists believe warmer Arctic air temperatures are leaving the region more vulnerable to incoming warm air masses that are thinning glaciers. The polar vortex, the swirl of cold air that sits atop the North Pole, is prone to destabilizing and spilling into areas like the Midwest as the Arctic warms.
“If it ever disappeared, it would never be able to grow back again.”
In the past decade, the snowfall that frosts the top of the Barnes rarely lasts as the ice cap loses about 1 foot of height each year at its highest elevations and 3 feet near the margins, according to Miller. And streams of melting water run from its peak down to the lakes that have formed near its base.
A University of Colorado student stands near a stream formed by melting ice on the Barnes Ice Cap, the last remnant of the Laurentide Ice Sheet that once covered Chicago. The Barnes Ice Cap is on Baffin Island in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. (Gifford Miller / University of […]
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