Ice at the edge of survival: warming is changing the Arctic | WGN Radio 720

While studying in Greenland, ice scientist Twila Moon was impressed this summer with what climate change is destined to lose the planet and what can be saved.

The Arctic is warming three times faster than the rest of the globe, and ongoing UN climate change negotiations in Scotland this week could make the same difference between ice and water at the top of the world. It is at the limit of survival. Scientists say that two-tenths is a sub-zero problem.

Arctic ice sheets and glaciers are shrinking, and some glaciers are already gone. The permafrost layer, which is the ice soil that traps the powerful greenhouse gas methane, is melting. A wildfire broke out in the Arctic Circle. Siberia has reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). Even the area called the Last Ice Area showed unexpected melting this year.

In the coming decades, the Arctic may see ice-free summers.

“I’m mourning what I’ve already lost,” said Moon, a researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, when he regularly returns to Greenland because past carbon dioxide emissions trap heat. rice field.

But the decision we make now about how much carbon pollution the Earth emits is “an incredible difference between the amount of ice we hold and the amount and speed we lose. It means that there is.

What happened in the Arctic is not limited to the Arctic, so the fate of the Arctic is very imminent during the climate negotiations in Glasgow (the northernmost point where negotiations took place). Scientists believe that warming there has already contributed to meteorological disasters elsewhere in the world.

Waled Abdalati, a former NASA chief scientist who runs the University of Colorado’s environmental program, said: “It’s like bringing a sledgehammer into the climate system.”

What is happening in the Arctic Circle is the runaway effect.

Julienne Stroeve, an ice scientist at the University of Manitoba, said:

When the Arctic Circle is covered with snow and ice, it reflects sunlight and heat. But that blanket is declining. And as the sea ice melts in the summer, “a really dark surface appears, like a black T-shirt,” Moon says. Like dark clothing, the open parts of the sea absorb heat from the sun more easily.

Between 1971 and 2019, the Arctic surface warmed three times faster than the rest of the world, according to the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program.


“The Arctic isn’t just about changing temperatures,” Abdalati said. “The state is changing. It’s becoming another place.”

The 2015 Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures, or below 2 degrees Fahrenheit (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) if that is not possible. Has been set. Since the late 1800s, the world has already warmed up to 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit).

The difference between what happens at 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees can have a bigger impact on the Arctic than in other parts of the world. I’m John Walsh, a climate scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a member of the Arctic Surveillance Team. “You can save the Arctic Circle, or at least save it in many ways, but above 1.5 you will lose it.”

The Arctic Circle itself has warmed above 2 degrees Celsius, Strobe said. She said the temperature in November was approaching 9 degrees Celsius (16 degrees Fahrenheit).

For John Waghiyi Jr., the Arctic Circle is neither a number nor an abstraction. It has been at home for 67 years, and he and other native Bering Sea elders have seen changes in the Arctic Circle due to warming. The sea ice that humans and polar bears can hunt is shrinking in the summer.

“Recently, ice is very dangerous. It’s very unpredictable,” said Wagii of Savoonga, Alaska. “Ice packs affect us all mentally, culturally and physically because they are needed to continue harvesting.”

Ice is “at the heart of our identity,” said Dalee Sambo Dorough, International Chairman of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, which represents 165,000 people in some countries.

This is not just a problem for people living in the Arctic Circle. It causes problems for the far south.

More and more studies have linked changes in the Arctic Circle to changes in jet streams (air rivers that move the weather from west to east) and other meteorological systems. According to scientists, these changes can contribute to more extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, the February freeze in Texas, or more serious wildfires.

Also, melting ice beds and glaciers can significantly increase sea level rise.

“The fate of places like Miami is very closely related to the fate of Greenland,” said the US Arctic Enforcement, which coordinates US domestic regulations, including the Arctic trading with other northern countries. David Balton, director of the Steering Committee, said. “If you live in Topeka, Kansas, or if you live in California. If you live in Nigeria, your life will be affected …. The Arctic Circle is important at all levels.”


Read the Associated Press article on climate issues at


Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter @borenbears.


The Associated Press’s Department of Health Sciences is supported by the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.

Ice at the edge of survival: warming is changing the Arctic | WGN Radio 720

Source link Ice at the edge of survival: warming is changing the Arctic | WGN Radio 720

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