As climate change delegates discuss the planet's future this week at the COP25 meeting in Madrid, a new study finds that the Arctic warms much faster than the rest of the planet. This forces polar bears and walruses to settle on shrinking beaches, starving reindeer and caribou, and driving extreme heat, drought and sea-level rise along the US coast. Journal Science Advances reports that the Arctic has warmed by 0.75 degrees Celsius in the last decade alone. By comparison, over the last 137 years, the Earth has warmed by almost the same amount, 0.8 degrees Celsius.
In a "business as usual" scenario with industrial emissions that are still as high as they are today, the authors of the report reported In 20 years, the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free. By the end of the century, temperatures in the Arctic will reach a whopping 1
A warming Arctic has consequences for the entire planet, including its residents According to a panel of 15 climate, oceanography, and wildlife experts from the US, UK, and Europe, the United States has been involved in the study Addressing Individual Aspects of Climate Change in the Polar Region A collaborative effort to examine several scientific disciplines to take an updated look at what's going on and what's coming up in the coming decades.
Kristin Laidre, an animal ecologist at the University of Washington and co-author, says the melting summer sea ice causes annoyance to large mammals: polar bears, walruses and seals. She says they are fighting for survival because they can not hunt on floating sea ice, rest or give birth.
"They all rely heavily on the sea ice platform in all areas of their lives," says Laidre. "As we continue to lose ice and observe the changes in the ecosystem, we are already seeing major changes and expect them to continue. There's no way around it.
With less sea ice, seals and walruses push their way to the beaches, causing younger animals to trample more often. Polar bears swim longer distances from land to ice floes where they hunt seals. Since the rest of the world's oceans are also warm, coldwater fish, crustaceans and plankton migrate north into the Arctic. This brings with it new diseases, parasites and other marine life threats that are already living there.
Climate change also affects land mammals such as reindeer and caribou, which are the main food source for the indigenous peoples of Canada in Siberia and other Arctic nations. Reindeer are being decimated by rainfall on ice, which has killed tens of thousands of animals over the past decade. In Greenland, botanists discover that some flowering plants appear earlier each year, but not the pollinating insects they rely on.
And then there's the weather. Michael Mann, co-author of the study and climatologist at Penn State, says that the vanishing sea ice allows the Arctic Ocean to absorb more sunlight, heat it up even more, and melt more ice. "It's a vicious circle," writes Mann in an e-mail. 19659002] This temperature contrast is responsible for the existence of the beam; As the contrast decreases, the beam slows down. Weather systems tend to stay in the same place for longer. It can also cause the waves of the beam to increase in amplitude, resulting in anomalous weather systems, Mann says.