Arctic Climate Shifts to New State with “Profound Implications for People, Resources and Ecosystems Worldwide”

Arctic coastal communities
Circumpolar coastal human population distribution ca. 2009. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic

Arctic Climate Warming Higher and Faster than Expected

By Margo McDiarmid | April 24, 2017

A new international report shows that Arctic temperatures are rising higher and faster than expected, and the effects are already being felt around the world.

“The Arctic’s climate is shifting to a new state,” warns the report.

“This transformation has profound implications for people, resources and ecosystems worldwide.”

The Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic assessment was written by more than 90 scientists from around the world who compiled the latest northern research on how climate change is affecting the Arctic ice and ecosystems.

It’s part of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program of the Arctic Council, which represents eight circumpolar countries.

Among the findings in this year’s report:

  • The Arctic Ocean could be largely free of sea ice in the summer as early as 2030 or even before that.
  • Arctic temperatures are rising twice as fast as the temperatures in the rest of the world. In the fall of 2016 mean temperatures were six degrees higher than average.
  • Thawing permafrost that holds 50 per cent of the world’s carbon is already affecting northern infrastructure and could release significant amounts of methane into the atmosphere.
  • Polar bears, walruses and seals that rely on ice for survival are facing increased stress and disruption.
  • Changes in the Arctic may be affecting weather as far away as Southeast Asia.

“The Arctic is connected to the rest of the planet,” said David Barber, who is a leading expert on Arctic ice at the University of Manitoba and one of the authors of the report.

“We are seeing the first and strongest signs of global warming in the Arctic. We knew this was coming, we knew 30 years ago that it was coming, and it is now here,” said Barber in an interview with CBC News. …

Read the rest of this article at CBC:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/arctic-climate-warming-ice-report-1.4083728