First time in 14 years, the annual Christmas in Ice sculpture park reportedly will not be opening this year in North Pole, Alaska, because of lack of ice.The park next to Santa Claus House gift shop is approximately 22 km southeast of Fairbanks and normally operates through December with Yule-themed ice sculptures. The Executive Director Keith Fye told an international media outlet that there isn’t enough ice on ponds to harvest for ice cravings, therefore, the authorities had to keep the park shut this year.

Owing to global warming, the North Pole has been almost eight degrees warmer than normal. This year in the month of October Alaska also saw a lack of ice on lakes and ponds which was further worsened by snowfall as it hampered with the formation of ice. Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the International Arctic Research Center in Fairbanks also reported that the lowest  temperature in October was 14 degrees.

He added, “The warm oceans and the lack of sea ice are contributing an immense amount of heat to the atmosphere regionally, and so it’s no surprise that we had a warm October. Is it caused by climate change? No,” Thoman said. “Is this another one of a series of warm winters in Alaska that are part of our changing climate? You bet.” 

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Melting ice could lead to a rise in sea-levels

According to another report, widespread melting of Antarctic ice sheets can possibly lead to sea-levels rising up to 20 metres. Antarctic ice sheets are capable of widespread melting under current atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, the study led by Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand stated. Up to one-third of Antarctica’s ice sheets melted during the Pliocene epoch around three million years ago, the research stated. It caused sea-levels to rise as much as 25 metres above present levels. Carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere were similar to today’s levels and the temperature was two to three degrees Celsius warmer. 

(With AP inputs)

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