Shrink, Shrink, Rudolph
If you and Mariah really don’t care about the presents underneath the tree this year, you are in luck. Santa’s approximately 353,000 ton sleigh will have to be pulled by the Kringle 3000 this year and probably years to come as his reindeer buddies are shrinking in size.
What’s happening? Who’s doing this to them? Yup, you guessed it! Us. People. Hoomans. How? Why, climate change of course! Since the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the world, our friends up north are definitely feeling the effects of manmade climate change. Surface temperatures last year were up 5°F (2.8°C) (which is a lot).
Put on your thinking caps for a second. If temperatures are getting warmer, what does that mean for precipitation? If you answered, “more rain,” you would be right! But remember that the Arctic regularly falls below freezing in the winter, making that rain become ice. So while summer snacks are easy to come by, when Rudolph dashers out to get his morning lichen omelette during the winter, instead of burying his nose in the snow to reach breakfast, he hits ice and can’t eat. If Prancer is pregnant and can’t get to her food, the little prance inside won’t be as heavy when entering into the world, if alive at birth. Being lighter hurts the reindeers' chance of survival during the cold winters.
Beginning in 1994, A team of ecologists from Scotland and Norway teamed up to observe the changing reindeer population and saw the average weight drop from 121 pounds to 106 pounds (55 and 48 kilograms, respectively), but the population increase due abundant food in the summer months. While no one is complaining about more magical reindeer, it also means more competition for food in the winter. Good news for the Arctic fox who eat the starving reindeer. Scimplifide reached out to Mr. Narwal and Arctic Puffin on their feelings on the research, but they were unavailable to comment as they are fictional.
Now that we are sufficiently bummed out, let's watch some reindeer to cheer up.
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