Massive research project concludes Arctic ice is receding fast
A major scientific report on the state of Canada's Arctic has dire warnings about the reality of global warming.
A major scientific report on the state of Canada’s Arctic has dire warnings about the reality of global warming.
After a four-year study,an international team of 300 scientists produced the most detailed assessment to date of changes in circumpolar climate and ultra violet radiation.
The report, called the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, was prepared for the Arctic Council, a forum of countries including Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Russia and the United States. Environment Canada led the Canadian contribution to the research.
The 1,400-page report found: “the Arctic is warming much more rapidly than previously known, at nearly twice the rate as the rest of the earth, and increasing greenhouse gases from human activities are projected to make it warmer still.”
According to their findings, the region is projected to warm an additional 4-7 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, resulting in the melting and disappearance of half the summer sea ice and a significant portion of the Greenland Ice Sheet.
The report noted that the changing climate may give rise to new opportunities in the North, such as increased access to oil and gas minerals. However, it found that the economic and social impacts on Aboriginal communities and wildlife would be serious. Already, shifting ice and weather conditions are affecting populations of polar bear, walrus, seals and caribou.
The projections were being presented in detail at a scientific conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, November 9-12.
On a positive note, a few days before the report was released a major milestone was reached in the effort to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, believed to cause global warming. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the Kyoto Protocol, which means the accord now has enough support to come into force early next year. There had to be 55 industrialized nations that account for at least 55% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions signed on in order for the agreement to be binding.