Climate change panel reveal Arctic sea ice levels have increased - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 10 September

After a cold summer, Arctic sea ice levels are 60 per cent higher than they were at this time last year, according to a United Nations report.


Climate change panel reveal Arctic sea ice levels have increased

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 10 September


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After a cold summer, Arctic sea ice levels are 60 per cent higher than they were at this time last year, according to a United Nations report.

Ice in the Arctic Ocean partially melts each summer and then refreezes in the winter. Scientists measure levels at the end of every melt season: this August, the ice caps extended almost a million square miles further than in 2012. An unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe stretched from the northern Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores.

This, according to a report to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) leaked to the UK’s Mail on Sunday, represents 60 per cent more Arctic sea ice than at the same time last year. However, 2012 experienced a record low in sea ice extent so it would not be unusual for levels to have increased.

For the past 35 years, scientists have recorded more and more ice melting every summer. Recent studies have even suggested that the Arctic Ocean could be completely iceless in the summer as early as 2035.

This trend has set off alarm bells all over the world, with campaigners warning of widespread flooding of low-lying land and soaring average global temperatures. The IPCC said it was now “95 per cent confident” that global warming was man-made.

But this summer’s increase in the Arctic ice caps is likely to be seized upon by climate change deniers, who argue either that global temperatures are not rising at all or that if they are, it is not the fault of man.

In a separate development, UK scientists are about to set out for Antarctica to investigate a glacier in one of the most remote regions on Earth. The huge Pine Island Glacier (Pig), on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is losing ice at a faster rate than it is being replenished.

In fact, Pig drains about 10 per cent of all the ice sliding off the west of the continent and has thinned markedly in recent decades. Its contribution to the rise in global sea levels is now greater than that of any other glacier on the planet.

The six-year, £7.4 million iStar research programme will use a variety of techniques and gadgets to take the glacier’s measurements, from fleets of ocean robots to unmanned submarines and even local wildlife.

The team will attach temporary temperature and salinity sensors to the backs of elephant seals, which swim around and underneath the glacier when foraging for food, to gather data. The measurements will be sent back to the UK via satellite when the seals surface. The seals will lose the sensors within a year when they moult.


Questions

1.) What do we mean by the term 'global warming'?
2.) What are the causes of global warming?
3.) Why do you think that some people are "climate change deniers"?
4.) What steps can we take at home or at school to help reduce climate change?


Related resources


Climate change – who’s in control?

  • Help students explore through role play who should take responsibility for reducing the effects of climate change.

Cold climate – Arctic PowerPoint

  • Discover the Arctic through the eyes of a young polar bear.

What is happening to the Arctic?

  • Detailed and visual resource pack investigating the Arctic and climate change.

The Arctic people and their homes

  • This is a great introduction for a scheme of work on the Arctic.


Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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Sleeping can help boost the brain’s ability to repair itself, according to new research.

It may seem feather-brained to some, but a bird accused of espionage has got the Egyptian authorities in a flap.



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