Global Warming

And Its Effect on the Arctic


Annual air temperature continues to increase in the Arctic, at a rate of warming that is more than twice that at lower latitudes. As the sea ice retreats in summer and previously ice-covered water is exposed to solar radiation, sea surface temperature in all the marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean is increasing.


Because of the increase in temperatures and subsequent loss of sea ice, wave action is causing greater coastal erosion. Arctic storms are increasing in ferocity and occurrence. They are driving salt water further inland onto sensitive tundra and fresh water lakes. Fresh water fish, fauna and flora are being adversely affected.

Subsistence hunting and fishing by Inuits in the areas affected by these changes have become more difficult and dangerous.


As a result of global warming the arctic sea ice is receding. Summer Arctic sea ice has declined by 20% over the last 25 years. Winter Arctic sea ice has declined by 13% over the last ten years.

Because of the reduction in sea ice, it is estimated that the Polar Bear population will halve by 2050, which is in 35 years’ time. Seal pups are being affected by the lack of snow on the ice that gives them insulation, which can increase their risk of freezing to death.

The Inuit’s traditional way of life is being affected by receding ice, its increasingly unpredictable nature and the thinness of the ice edge is making it difficult and dangerous for them to hunt for food.

Science of Artic melting

21 Names of different types of ice


Suggestions and resources to further explore the topics of Arctic exploration, international shipping, polar science and climate change.