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Is Arctic warming threatening Santa and Superman?

Doug O'Harra

Let's forget for a moment about the fate of Alaska's polar bears on the frigid Arctic Ocean, where summer sea ice shrank to the third-smallest extent seen since satellite monitoring began in the 1970s

Let's just set aside concerns that this climate change will soon endanger the lives of thousands of ringed seals and Pacific walruses as they lose critical habitat and get forced to the beach.

The real crisis of the Far North? It's the incredible danger that now looms over the Arctic's most celebrated residents.

No, we're not talking about Sarah or Bristol Palin. (As if we're looking for some lamestream excuse to put the word "Palin" in another story. Please.)

It's Santa Claus, who, as we all know, operates a large toy manufacturing facility somewhere near the North Pole, and that other guy, Superman, whose Fortress of Solitude requires healthy multi-year floes for basic stability.

"The war on Santa Claus (and Superman)" appeared this weekend on Joseph Romm's Climate Progress blog, and it raises some serious questions on what's going to happen to our heroes once the polar ice cap thaws into brine-flavored sherbet.

"Where will we tell kids that Santa lives? Some sort of North Pole Atlantis?," Romm wrote here. "But he can't live under the water, since much of the Arctic will still ice over by December, though a few feet of ice can't support a huge house and a factory and an elf-dormitory. Kids are smarter than that. If only adults were smarter...."

As Deborah Williams of Alaska Conservation Solutions wrote some years ago in the Anchorage Press, "Santa Claus is not happy. Because of global warming, Santa's homestead is melting and his reindeer are hungry."

Romm's conclusion? "Probably the best choice is to ship him off to the South Pole (with Superman's Fortress of Solitude)," he writes. "How ironic would it be to outsource Santa to the Southern hemisphere."

If you want to take action, check out this Facebook site aimed at helping the Man of Steel save his vacation digs. And here are some more Santa links: Global warming is putting Santa out of business and tracking Santa's progress on NORAD.