UNIT 1 EDEXCEL GEOGRAPHY MAY 2010 QUESTION 8
a) Suggest why some groups and communities view the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet as an opportunity rather than a threat. (10)
Some groups and communities view the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet as an opportunity rather than a threat because the melting ice creates some commercial advantages for the Arctic region; the Northern Sea Route, North of Canada, is the quickest way of travelling from Europe to the Pacific and Asia. This also increases the tourism opportunities because 30% of Inuit earn income from sculpture and printmaking for tourists, as the tourist ships are able to transport to the northern Canada.
As the rapidly melting ...view middle of the document...
b) Examine the ecological impacts of global warming for Arctic areas. (15)
In this essay, I will explain the ecological impacts of global warming for Arctic areas, to the trees, plants, natives and animals.
In recently, the 20% of solar radiation is absorbed from the ice caps, since the sea, plants and rocks have the low albedo. This is because of oceans are darker than ice and snow; it absorbs more energy than it reflects, which causes the warming effect. Due to warming effect, it melts more ice and creates a cycle called the positive ice albedo feedback, which in turn causes an increase in average temperature, and therefore increases ice melting even more, and so on. This negative feedback mechanism will also further greenhouse gas emissions by the thawing of permafrost. Beneath the permafrost found on arctic tundra, are thousands of gallons of methane, trapped there for thousands of years. As this permafrost begins to melt, the methane will be released, increasing the temperature and creating a similar feedback mechanism to the albedo effect stated above.
Increasing temperatures lead to the treeline moving north and to higher altitudes, causing a distortion in tundra ecosystems due to the warm climate and other plants competing and take over, permafrost thawing out, the change of the food chain due to the spread of species, such as spruce bark beetle in Alaska like competing with other animals can affect predators or preys. Increasing temperatures also lead to increases in the number of northern coniferous fires in Arctic Russia. Burning tens of millions of hectares each year causes the loss of 0.8% of the world’s coniferous. Boreal ecosystems are vital and accounted for 37% of the world’s carbon pool on land, and are effective at sinking carbon. Burning tens of millions of hectares can result in the release of carbon dioxide and reducing the amount of homes for species.
Increasing temperature has many effects on Arctic biodiversity including the northward movement of more southern species, shrubbing and greening of the land, changing plant communities, increases in migrating foreign species displacing native Arctic inhabitants and Arctic Biodiversity Assessment Trend 2010 Report shows the new disease starts to spreading, can possibly harm the natives as well as animals. Changes in biodiversity are creating both challenges and opportunities for Arctic people, like less southern species to be found and less Arctic people will be able to find...