Big Changes for Santa Claus

Flickr\\Sarah Macmillan
HO HO HO! Santa Claus is coming to town in just a few weeks.

As we, hopefully, behave well to make the “nice” list and bake our delicious cookies to be left with milk, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some changes Santa and Mrs. Claus are experiencing in the North Pole and around the planet.

Changes that quite likely will require Santa to make some big adjustments.

What’s happening to Santa’s elf workshop in the North Pole?

Graph from NSIDC, 2010.
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, a non-partisan public scientific data and measurement organization, north polar ice extent just last year in December 2010 had the lowest ice extent for the month since the beginning of satellite records.

If this decline continues, and most climate models are in agreement that it will continue and even worsen, Santa and his elves are going to have to find a different place to put up shop or be left to float in the ocean.

Flickr\\François Roche

How will sleigh travel be impacted?

Have you flown lately and noticed a few more bumps than usual? This experience is not in your head.

According to The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming causes water temperatures to warm, and the rising heat from those waters can lead to more disturbances in the upper atmosphere. It’s those upper-air disturbances that cause in-flight turbulence. His sleigh rides might be a bit bumpy. Perhaps he might even be forced to delay certain routes around the globe if they are unsafe due to a large storm.

What will Santa wear?

It might get too warm in Santa’s signature red coat with white collar and cuffs, white-cuffed red trousers, and black leather belt and boots. As air temperatures rise, perhaps he might fancy himself in some Bermuda shorts and candy-cane-colored shirtsleeves. Just as long as he doesn’t shave his beard!

What about the reindeer?

Flickr\\Timo Newton-Syms
Reindeer are a type of deer who reside in the Arctic and Subarctic regions of the planet. They like to move and are highly migratory, some species traveling about 3,000 miles per year! That is like traveling from Los Angeles to New York every year. Since they do migrate they have some ability to move away from temperatures that are too warm, however, this ability won’t last forever since once they reach the Arctic Ocean, they can’t go much further.

Protecting reindeer is yet another reason to reduce carbon emissions to prevent even warmer temperatures from pushing them out of their habitat.

What can Santa do to keep his way of life?

Santa likes his way of life in the north pole, wearing his beard and red coat, sailing smoothly with his trusty reindeer. He cares about reducing carbon emissions to lessen and prevent climate change. For example, his sleigh is powered purely by renewable reindeer energy! He also uses wind power to power his toy workshop as wind is abundant in the North Pole. He also re-uses and recycles wood, plastic and other materials from older toys into creating toys for this upcoming season!

To learn more about how we can reduce big changes and protect Santa’s way of life, please see National Wildlife Federation’s Global Warming Solutions. Enjoy this holiday season!