Oslo: The Arctic has warmed three times more quickly than the planet as a whole, and faster than previously thought, a report warned on Thursday.
Arctic sea ice is an early victim of rising temperatures, with each fraction of a degree making a huge difference on the temperature of the artic, whereas the chance of it completely vanishing from the face of the earth is based on summer which will be 10 times greater if Earth warms by 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels compared to 1.5C, the goal set by the 2015 Paris Accord.
The distressing finding comes from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) in a report programmed to correspond with a government-level meeting this week of the Arctic Council in Reykjavik, which gathers countries bordering the region.
“The Arctic is a real hotspot for climate warming,” said Jason Box, a glaciologist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.
In less than half a century, from 1971 to 2019, the Arctic’s average annual temperature rose by 3.1C, compared to 1C for the planet as a whole.
That’s more than previously suspected. In a 2019 report on Earth’s frozen spaces, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that Arctic surface air temperature has likely increased “by more than double the global average”.
Artic under fire
According to researchers, a turning point came in 2004 when the temperature in the Arctic arose for immensely unexplained reasons.
Since then, the warming of artic is continuous at a rate 30 percent higher than in previous decades.
The region is now experiencing “more and longer-lasting winter warm events,” Box told AFP.
According to forecasts in the report, by the end of the century, average temperatures in the Arctic are expected to rise 3.3 to 10 degrees above the average for the period 1985-2014.
The final figure depends on how rapidly humanity would understand the dangers that surround the artic warming draws down greenhouse gas emissions.
Warming has immediate effects on the Arctic ecosystem, including changes in habitat, food habits, and interactions between animals – including the iconic polar bear – and the migration of some species.
“The impacts of wildland fires are not limited to public safety concerns, such as protecting life and property,” said US researcher Michael Young, Arctic Council Wildland Fire Projects Coordinator.
“The smoke they produce also contains carbon dioxide and black carbon, which both contribute to climate change.”
The consequences are also dramatic for the four million people who live in the region, especially indigenous peoples.
The melting of hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice each year in Greenland leads to rising sea levels, which threaten the lives of people living thousands of kilometers away.