Global Warming In The Arctic Above All Predictions

According to a WWF 100 pages report that was released yesterday, the Arctic has warmed at about twice the rate of the rest of the globe over the last decades, and is projected to grow throughout this century and beyond.

The climate change is affecting the Arctic’s physical and biological systems earlier and in a much worse way than previously predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007.

As the Arctic plays a central role in regulating Earth’s climate, the effects of these local changes will dramatically impact the global climate system and accelerate global warming significantly beyond projections currently used by policymakers.

Some of the key findings of this study:

Amplification of global warming in the Arctic will have fundamental impacts on Northern Hemisphere weather and climate, affecting temperature and precipitation patterns in Europe and North America. These changes will affect agriculture, forestry and water supplies.

The global ocean circulation system will change under the strong influence of arctic warming: changes in ocean circulation
pathways will affect fisheries and other marine resources.

The loss of ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet has increased and will contribute substantially to global sea level rise: sea level will rise more than 1 meter by 2100, directly affecting 25% of the world’s population.

The degradation of arctic sub-sea permafrost is already releasing methane from the massive, frozen, undersea carbon pool and more is expected with further warming. Methane is about 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and will cause a far greater release of carbon, creating a positive feedback that may accelerate the global warming even more.

Report says “Global feedbacks already arising from arctic climate change suggest that anything but the most ambitious
constraints on greenhouse gas concentrations may not be sufficient to avoid dangerous interference with the climate system.” Hopefully the message will be heard at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which will be held in Copenhagen (7-18 December, 2009).

For more details, read the Arctic Climate Feedbacks: Global Implication report.

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