Ice and frozen ground at the North and South Poles are affected by climate-change-induced warming, but the consequences of thawing at each pole differ due to the geography and geology, according to a Penn State hydrologist.
“The polar regions, particularly the Arctic, are warming faster than the rest of the world,” said the lead researcher. “As a consequence, polar ecosystems respond directly to changes in the earth systems at the poles.”
These changes, though different at each pole, could be significant in their effects on not only the local environment, but also globally. While the central part of the Arctic is composed of ice over water, northern Canada, Alaska, Siberia and Greenland all have landmasses within the Arctic Circle. The associated land and water ecosystems are affected by melting ice and thawing soils, but in Antarctica, where much of the ice overlays a continent, the warming alters streams, lakes and the tiny plants and animals that live there.