Photograph shows devastating effect of climate change on melting sea ice

Dogs paddle through water that should be ice. Credit: Steffen Olsen/Twitter

A photograph taken by a climate researcher in Greenland has shown the true extent of climate change on one of the world's must vulnerable habitats.

The striking image appears to show the dogs walking on water - but is actually the result of melting sea ice around the Inglefield Bredning fjord as the area experiences higher than usual temperatures.

Danish climate researcher Steffen Olsen captured the image of sled dogs crossing the patch of ice earlier this week.

The ice sheet below was just 1.2 metres thick.

The melting happened after ice with low permeability rapidly melted, leaving cracks for the water to remain in.

Global warming-accelerated ice melts are a cause of concern for communities in cold climates, meaning locals are having to increasingly rely on technology like satellite images to find safe routes to cross the ice.

  • Are climate researchers worried about the melting of the ice?

There are concerns over the impact significantly higher temperatures in Greenland are having.

Records show highs have peaked up to 22C higher than what would be expected at this time of year, driven by warmer air surging north from the Atlantic.

Melting ice is a cause for concern for everyone, since it leads to rising sea levels around the world.

The melting ice seen in Mr Olfsen's picture would not normally be expected to melt at this time of year.

"The melting is big and early," Jason Box, an ice climatologist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, told the Washington Post.

Such large scale melting of the ice would not usually happen until July or August.

Melting ice meant polar bears ended up searching for food in a Russian town earlier this year.
  • What impact can melting ice have?

Melting ice, as well as increasing sea levels, can be devastating for wildlife.

Earlier this year, a Russian town declared a state of "emergency" after "a massive invasion" of more than 50 hungry polar bears.

It was thought the animals were driven towards human settlements after melting ice left them struggling to find food around their usual home.

  • What is the UK doing about climate change?

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced the UK will set a legal target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

This means people could see widespread changes in their daily lives, with changes potentially afoot in the way homes are heated, what we eat and the way we get around.

Even the countryside could look different, with more trees planted to absorb carbon-dioxide and mixed farming replacing the monocultural landscapes we see today.