arctic warming is as fast as the rest of the planet (Arctic amplification)
Land and sea above Arctic Circle
(> 66.5° N)
3.74 million km2
loss of ice: summer sea ice cover at its 2nd lowest minimum
Record air temperature recorded in Verkhoyansk, Siberia
14 million ha
of forests and peatlands burnt by wildfires in Siberia.
There is no aspect of life in the Arctic that will not be affected by these changes, from ecosystems’ integrity to livelihood opportunities of the local population, to the stability of energy and transportation infrastructure. Close to 4 million people, many of them indigenous, will be forced to resettle or adjust to the new conditions. Animals, such as reindeer, polar bears, cod and seals, are all affected as their natural environment is changing faster than ever. With continued high greenhouse gas emissions, polar bears’ reproduction and survival will steeply decline with projected extinction of nearly all subpopulations by 2100. What happens in the Arctic will affect the planet overall, through sea level rise caused by melting Greenland ice, and the impacts on the climate outside of the Arctic. Intense cold spells and heatwaves in Europe and North America are linked to the Arctic climate, and the rapid change in Arctic temperatures may affect their future patterns.
The changes in the Arctic have impacts globally: the melting of Greenland ice is one of the primary drivers of global sea level rise, and the Arctic climate contributes to cold spells and heatwaves in Europe and North America.
Potential ice-free summers in the Arctic by 2035; greenhouse gases that are currently stored in the permafrost could be released and exacerbate climate change further, and unique biodiversity will be lost.
The repercussions of these changes have the potential to affect climate stability worldwide: weather extremes around the world will be impacted by the change in oceanic and atmospheric currents, while the release of greenhouse gases stored in the thawing permafrost has the potential to strongly exacerbate climate change.