It’s not looking good for Santa: Arctic melt at almost all-time high at the end of summer 2020

Polly Stevens discusses the second-highest levels of summer melt at the end of summer 2020, and the likely implications for Santa and his elves

Polly Stevens
6th December 2020

Arctic sea ice shrank to its second lowest recorded extent in September 2020, measuring a mere 3.74 million square kilometres - just over half of the long-term average of 6.4 million square kilometres. Rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice has been apparent since the 1980s; the area is particularly sensitive to anthropogenically-induced climate change, as reductions in reflectivity caused by ice retreat and open ocean exposure leads to a 70% increase in solar radiation absorption. 

Open ocean exposure in the Arctic has led to increased solar absorption
Image: Pixabay

The implications of these unprecedented levels of warming and ice loss, which are projected to continue into the future, are particularly severe for residents of the North Pole, including Santa Claus, who has expressed major concern at the rapidly vanishing ice cover. 

"This simply isn't business as usual"

"We’ve tried to keep up a ‘business as usual’ attitude, but the fact of the matter is, this simply isn’t business as usual,” said Claus in an official statement. “Climate change has meant that large areas of the Arctic - areas on which we were previously dependent for elf housing, present manufacturing, and and reindeer training - have vanished. Relocation may be a necessity in the forthcoming years.” 

Rumours have circulated about Claus's potential relocation
Image: Lynda Hinton on Unsplash

Melting ice has meant that a downsizing of the Christmas Present Workhouses has also had to occur - and with downsizing comes skyrocketing levels of elf unemployment. “It’s really scary,” a Toy-Testing Elf told reporters recently. “We just don’t know what’s going to happen if the Arctic continues to melt at this rate. If more workhouses have to close, there’s a chance that Christmas might just cease to exist.” 

10 000 elves are now facing unemployment

An estimated 10 000 elves are now facing unemployment, a number predicted to double over the next five years. “I just hope people are aware of the crisis we’re facing,” stated a reindeer training elf in October, “A lot of the general public seem to think that just because global warming isn’t directly affecting them at the given moment in time, it’s not much of a problem. Unfortunately, we at the North Pole know differently”. 

Featured image: Broelman on Pinterest

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