Skeptics, when they are not claiming that the Arctic Sea ice is growing or staying the same, ignore the implications of its disappearance by saying “So what if it melts?”
There are two reasons, the first being less important than the second:
First, it is a clear indication that the earth is indeed warming.
Second, and most important, an ice free arctic will drastically alter the weather in the northern hemisphere where most people live. To understand how the weather will be changed we need to know how the ice currently affects it and what would happen without it.
Should the ice melt, it will expose open ocean water with the following chain reaction of effects:
1. White ice reflects sunlight making the Arctic colder than it would otherwise be but the dark blue color of the open sea will absorb more heat; therefore the Arctic Ocean’s water will increase in temperature by several degrees.
2. The warmer water is, the more it evaporates.
3. The more water evaporates, the more rain and snow there will be in places further south of the Arctic.
4. Warming water will also warm the atmosphere above it making storms more powerful.
5. This will intensify flooding south of the Arctic region impacting Canada, the United States, and other nations.
6. Intensified droughts and flooding will harm agriculture and city infrastructure.
Any radical change in one portion of the Earth will inevitably have a chain reaction of effects on the rest of the planet. Those effects will in turn affect civilization’s ability to grow food and maintain its urban infrastructure.