The Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the planet

The Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the planet

The Arctic Circle region has warmed four times faster than the rest of the planet over the past 40 years, according to a report released Thursday, which warns the phenomenon runs deeper than previously thought.

Scientists have previously calculated that this higher percentage of warming, known as “Arctic amplification,” is two to three times that of the rest of the planet.

This is the conclusion of the UN climate expert group (IPCC) in its latest report from 2019.

The icy surface of the arctic region partially reflects the sun’s rays (albedo effect), but with this accelerated warming caused by climate change, the ice is melting.

Melting ice absorbs heat instead of giving it back. And the excess water (from the continental and island regions of the Arctic Circle) flows into the oceanic bulk.

A team of experts in Norway and Finland analyzed temperature data collected in the region by satellite since 1979.

The Arctic has been warming by an average of 0.75C every decade, four times more than the rest of the planet, say these scientists in the study, published in science portal Communications Earth&Environment.

“Previously it was believed that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, so I was a bit surprised when our data was much higher,” said Antti Lipponen, coauthor of the study and collaborator at the Meteorological Institute. Finnish.

There are differing opinions in the scientific community about the exact boundaries of the region that includes the Arctic Ocean and the continental mass, and the time periods used as a basis for the study.

Significant variations

The data published on the website shows significant regional differences within the Arctic Circle.

The Eurasian sector of the Arctic Ocean near the Svalbard (Norway) and Nova Zembla (Russia) archipelagos has been warming by 1.25°C per decade, seven times more than the rest of the world.

The most advanced models to date have predicted warming a third less than observed.

These climate prediction models in the region are evolving, the scientists explained.

“Perhaps the next step is to analyze these models again. I would like to know why the models don’t reproduce what we observed and what implications this has for future predictions,” Lipponen said.

Warming in the Arctic is having a profound impact on local communities and wildlife such as polar bears.

According to some studies, melting in Greenland is nearing a point of no return.

This mass of ice contains enough water to raise global sea levels by up to six meters.

“Climate change is caused by humans. As the Arctic warms, its glaciers will melt and this will affect sea levels around the world,” Lipponen explained.

“Something is happening in the Arctic and it will affect us all,” he added.

According to the IPCC, sea levels have risen by 20 cm since 1900 and the phenomenon has accelerated since the 1990s.

Climate change has already caused the planet’s average temperature to rise by 1.1°C compared to preindustrial times.

The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, adopted during COP21, aimed to limit global warming to 1.5°C compared to the preindustrial era.

However, according to the World Meteorological Organization, with the commitments assumed so far, the increase in temperature should be between 2.5 and 3 degrees.