UPSC Exam   »   Analysis Of Down To Earth Magazine

Analysis Of DTE Magazine: Ice Free Arctic


  • Planet Earth has been changing against the backdrop of a warming world.
  • The shrinking sea-ice in the Arctic is not only a sign of climate change, it is causing the planet to warm more quickly.
  • This is because more sunlight is being absorbed by the darker ocean, rather than being reflected back into space.
  • Arctic sea-ice plays an important role in controlling the planet’s temperature, and any problem with this natural thermostat is a cause for concern.

India’s Presence in Arctic 

  • India’s presence in the Arctic is more benign, with a small research base named Himadri in Norway. Since 2013, the country is also an observer to the Arctic Council.

What is Arctic Council

  • It is a forum of eight nations surrounding the Arctic.
  • The council came into existence in the 1996 Ottawa Convention, and its members are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US.
  • The Russia-Ukraine war has thrown the coun- cil’s future into uncertainty.

Impact Of Global Warming on Arctic

  • The effects of global warming are more prominent in the Arctic than Antarctica.
  • This is because of the substantial northward alignment of continents, especially those emitting the most green- house gases (North America, Europe and Asia).
  • This has two implications; first, the region gets heat- ed up much faster than Antarc-warm.
  • Additionally, there is also the so-called Arctic Haze, a brown haze visible in the spring.
  • Studies have confirmed that it is caused by industrial activities in the Northern hemisphere—especially coal burning.
  • A 2021 study by the Finnish Meteorological Institute also detected soot from India travelling to the Arctic.
  • This soot can reduce the albedo effect of the snow, accelerating glacial melting.

What is Albedo Effect?

  • When the sea-ice is melted, the darker ocean surface is exposed, which absorbs about 90% of the sunlight hitting it. This results in warming of the region.
  • This phenomenon is known as the Albedo effect, and it occurs because light surfaces reflect more heat than dark surfaces.

A grim future

  • Estimates predict a grim future, with the Arctic’s summer sea ice completely disappearing by 2035.
  • Ultimately, the increasing amount of ground being exposed in regions traditionally covered with snow will trigger a “tipping point”.
  • This is where the warming of the atmosphere reaches a point where human interventions will no longer be able to halt it.

How to save the polar regions?

  • To save the polar regions, urgent action in the form of a new global agreement is the only solution.
  • A global effort is needed to minimise emissions and embrace sustainability.
  • Countries should draft an Arctic Treaty System in line with its Antarctic counterpart.
  • India can leverage its polar missions to promote international peace and science diplomacy.
  • It can also control its pollution levels and prevent dust, soot that can migrate to the Arctic.

Sharing is caring!

Thank You, Your details have been submitted we will get back to you.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.