Climate Explorers: Why should we worry about sea ice melting?

Weather Presenter Louise Small explains why sea ice is so important if when it melts it does not lead to sea level rise

Sea ice is frozen seawater which floats on top of the ocean. Unlike ice sheets and glaciers, melting sea ice doesn’t add to sea level rise. However it does play an important role, regulating the heat between the ocean and atmosphere.

When sea ice melts it increases the salt content in the water around it. As the salinity changes, this can alter the currents of warm and cold water redistributing heat in our oceans. This is having a detrimental impact on already fragile ecosystems so it is important to combat climate change.

Sea ice melting is leading to impacts around the world

Currently the polar regions are warming three times faster than the rest of the world which is altering the extent of sea ice. This in turn is changing weather patterns and ecosystems.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that the polar regions are losing ice at an alarming rate and the oceans are changing rapidly. The consequences of this polar transition extend to the whole planet which is effecting people in multiple ways.