Arctic Climate Change (ACIA report summary)

The International Polar Foundation, through its SciencePoles website, has collaborated with GreenFacts to a summary of the landmark ACIA report commissioned by the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee. In the Arctic, average temperatures have risen almost twice as fast as in the rest of the world, and are projected to rise by 3 to 7°C between 2000 and 2100. The melting of Arctic glaciers is also expected increasingly to contribute to global sea-level rise.

According to the report, the current increase in temperatures goes beyond natural climate variability. Moreover, three major Arctic climate mechanisms directly feed back into further global warming:

  • as snow and ice melt, the amount of the sun's energy that is reflected back to space decreases - since darker surfaces absorb more heat - which in turn leads to more melting;
  • with the melting of Arctic ice, and increased fresh water run-off from continental rivers, the circulation of water in the oceans can change and affect currents such as the Gulf Stream;
  • as global warming progresses, there are changes in the net amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, including methane from melting permafrost.

Be sure to check out the GreenFacts website for more in depth information.