Tag Archives: permafrost

Deep Trouble for Arctic and Beyond: NOAA Climate Report Warns of Feedback Loop That ‘May Already Be Underway’

“If this were an annual health check-up, I think we’d have to say that the Arctic is chronically sick and getting worse.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-11-2019

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 14th annual Arctic Report Card includes a section that features commentary from Indigenous Peoples living along the Bering Sea. (Photo: NOAA/YouTube)

In addition to warning that “the feedback to accelerating climate change may already be underway,” the U.S. government’s latest report on conditions in the Arctic reveals that temperatures in the region are persistently warming, leading to land and sea ice melting, permafrost thawing, species being threatened with extinction, and putting Native communities at risk.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday published its 14th annual Arctic Report Card (pdf), which warns that “the Arctic marine ecosystem and the communities that depend upon it continue to experience unprecedented changes as a result of warming air temperatures, declining sea ice, and warming waters.” Continue reading

Share

UN Climate Report on Oceans, Frozen Regions Warns ‘Unprecedented Transitions in All Aspects of Society’ Needed to Sustain Life on Earth

Describing scientists’ latest warnings as “chilling and compelling,” environmentalists called for “enacting radical policies” that protect marine ecosystems and fully phase out fossil fuels.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-25-2019

An iceberg floats in Disko Bay, near Ilulissat, Greenland, on July 24, 2015. (Photo: Saskia Madlener/NASA/Flickr/cc)

A landmark United Nations climate report published Wednesday details the observed and anticipated future impacts of planet-heating emissions from human activity on the world’s oceans and frozen zones—and warns of the emerging consequences for humanity, marine ecosystems, and the global environment.

The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) is a product of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a U.N. body that assesses the latest science related to the human-caused climate crisis. It follows recent IPCC reports on the consequences of 1.5°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels and the necessity of reforming land use practices worldwide. Continue reading

Share

‘The Changes Are Really Accelerating’: Alaska at Record Warm While Greenland Sees Major Ice Melt

“The numbers needing relocation will grow, the costs are going up, and people’s lives and cultural practices will be impacted.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-14-2019

The Sawyer Glacier in Alaska, July 2016. The Arctic is enduring unprecedented warming this year, affecting Alaska and Greenland specifically. (Photo: Ian Keating, Flickr)

The climate crisis is rapidly warming the Arctic, and the effects are being felt from Alaska to Greenland.

The northernmost point on the planet is heating up more quickly than any other region in the world. The reason for this warming is ice–albedo feedback: as ice melts it opens up land and sea to the sun, which then absorb more heat that would have been bounced off by the ice, leading to more warming. It’s a vicious circle of warmth that’s changing the environment at the north pole.

In Alaska, the crisis led this year to the warmest spring on record for the state; one city, Akiak, may turn into an island due to swelling riverbanks and erosion exacerbated by thawing permafrost and ice melt. Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Research Center scientist Susan Natali told The Guardian that what’s happening in Akiak is just an indicator of the danger posed to Alaska by the climate crisis. Continue reading

Share

Thawing Permafrost Emitting Higher Levels of Potent Greenhouse Gas Than Previously Thought: Study

Nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-16-2019

Point Barrow, the northern-most location in the United States sits between the Chukchi Sea (west) and the Beaufort Sea on the east. (Photo: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team/Flickr)

As the Arctic enters an “unprecedented” state of warming, a new study shows that emissions of a potent greenhouse gas from thawing permafrost in the planet’s northernmost region may be 12 times higher than previously thought.

That’s according to a study published this month in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. The paper’s findings add even more weight to scientists’ urgent warnings about the mounting threats of permafrost thaw. Continue reading

Share

Warning of Global Havoc as Possible Arctic ‘Tipping Points’ Pile Up

The signals ‘are getting louder,’ says scientist involved in new comprehensive Arctic study

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-25-2016

The village of Kulusuk in Greenland. (Photo: Ville Miettinen/flickr/cc)

The village of Kulusuk in Greenland. (Photo: Ville Miettinen/flickr/cc)

What is happening in the Arctic will not stay in the Arctic.

In an ominous (though not hopeless) report published Friday, researchers warn that as many as 19 various ‘tipping points’ could be triggered by the increasingly warm temperatures in the world’s northern polar region.

The Arctic Resilience Report, produced under the auspices of the Arctic Council by an international team of researchers from multiple institutes and universities, is the first comprehensive assessment of its kind, looking at the unique region from a combined social and ecological perspective. By surveying and synthesizing a large body of previous research on how both communities and natural systems are responding to global warming, the report offers a worrying conclusion. Continue reading

Share