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.