Environment

This Luxury Vacation Option Didn't Exist Until the Weather Got Extreme

August 23rd 2016

By:
Tricia Tongco

The Arctic is vanishing at record speed, with ice melting into water – and we're not talking puddles.

In fact, the melting is so severe that it's opened up new routes for cruise ships, including the previously icy and impenetrable Bering Strait and Arctic seas.

Crystal Cruise

Last week, a Crystal Cruises ship embarked on its first-ever "Northwest Passage" route from Anchorage to New York. The cruise fare starts at roughly $22,000 and offers a chance to experience "vast landscapes of towering fjords, magnificent glaciers and rare wildlife sightings."

As enchanting as that sounds, it might be hard to enjoy the eight-day trip that is only possible due to extreme climate change. In fact, the mere existence of a "Northwest Passage" reveals a larger global threat that reaches far beyond the Arctic.

Arctic sea ice melting

Scientist Peter Wadhams told The Guardian that he believes the Arctic could be free of ice as soon as next year. He explained the dire consequences for our planet if this alarming trend continues:

"[I]f you replace ice with water, which is darker, much more solar heat will be absorbed by the ocean and the planet will heat up even more rapidly than it is doing at present. Sea ice also acts as an air-conditioning system. Winds coming over the sea to land masses such as Siberia and Greenland will no longer be cooled as they pass over ice and these places will be heated even further. These effects could add 50% to the impact of global warming that is produced by rising carbon emissions."

In other words, ice melting in the Arctic will trigger even more rapid global warming.

As ATTN: has previously reported, climate change can hugely affect your daily life in several ways:

  1. Food could become more expensive, since climate change could make it harder to grow crops and subsequent floods and storms could damage existing crops.
  2. Our most precious resource, water, will be at risk. Water scarcity will impact everything from farming to generating electricity.
  3. Severe weather events could damage cities’ infrastructure, costing huge amounts of time and money to repair and restore bridges, transportation, and power sources, to name a few things.
  4. It will also have an adverse affect on the way that we produce energy, limiting the ability to access, produce, and distribute oil and natural gas as the demand for energy increases, particularly for air conditioning.

Developments like this can make climate change's predicted global catastrophe seem inevitable, but as Phil Plait of Slate noted, there are still actions that can (and must) be taken to avert it. "Enact a carbon tax, for one. Switch to renewable energy for another, which is completely doable. And third? Vote science deniers out of office."

[h/t Mic]