This sounds like a headline from a tabloid–but it’s not. The results of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment were released yesterday. The prognosis is not great:
The study concluded that in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia, average temperatures have increased as much as 4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 4 degrees Celsius) in the past 50 years, nearly twice the global average. Temperatures are projected to rise 7 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 7 degrees Celsius) over the next hundred years.
What this means is that the ice is going to melt and melt quickly. It already is. So what’s a little water? Well, the consequences, according to the study, are rather drastic:
• Low-lying coastal areas in Florida and Louisiana could be flooded by the sea. A 1.5 feet (50-centimeter) rise in sea level could cause the coastline to move 150 feet (45 meters) inland, resulting in substantial economic, social, and environmental impact in low-lying areas.
• The health and food security of some indigenous peoples would be threatened, challenging the survival of some cultures.
• Should the Arctic become ice-free in summer, it is likely that polar bears and some seal species would become extinct.
• The melting of so much ice, and the resulting addition of so much fresh water to the ocean, could impact the circulation of currents and affect regional climate.
Read the whole story at National Geographic.
The WWF opinion
Arctic climate researchers welcome US efforts on global warming
Kyoto Protocol not enough to stop warming: scientists