A future of heat and strife or humanity’s finest hour – our response to climate change today will define the 21st century.
Ice floe drifting in Svalbard, Norway.
Sven-Erik Arndt/Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Extreme shrinkage of summer sea ice is just the latest evidence of rapid Arctic warming – and what happens in the Arctic doesn't stay there.
The report by the World Meteorological Organisation shows that with large and rapid emissions cuts, we can still avoid the most severe climate change. But worryingly, we also have time to make it far worse.
The high temperatures and wildfires of 2019 were thought to have heralded a freak summer for the Arctic. Then 2020 brought worse.
Temperature anomalies from March 19 to June 20 2020. Red colors depict areas that were hotter than average for the same period from 2003-2018; blues were colder than average.
Models have predicted for some time that with every degree of global warming, the Arctic will see double or more.
The wet and low-lying East Siberian Arctic is likely to be a major methane source in the coming decades.
Polar regions may be becoming more profitable, but these “benefits” come with far more severe costs.
Bundled up against the cold in downtown Chicago, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019.
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Life-threatening cold temperatures in the central US are caused by changes in wind circulation in the Arctic that bring cold air south. Climate change could make these events more frequent.
Extreme climatic events are harming plant communities in the Arctic. The resulting colour change is bad news for the region’s carbon storage.
University of Maine, Climate Change Institute
But it’s too early to tell whether climate change is to blame.