On the other side of the island, snowflakes of St. Patrick’s Bay, the most northerly in Canada, completely disappeared.
Two weeks later, scientists concluded that the Greenland ice sheet may have already passed without any returns. The annual snowfall is no longer sufficient to compensate for the loss of snow and ice during the melting of the region’s 234 glaciers. Last year, the ice sheet lost a record amount of snow, equivalent to 1 million metric tons every minute.
The Arctic is covert. And this is happening faster than anyone would have imagined a few decades ago. Northern Siberia and the Canadian Arctic are now warming three times faster than the rest of the world. Arctic temperatures have increased by about 1C over the past decade. If greenhouse gas emissions remain on the same trajectory, we can expect the north to warm up to 4C by the middle of the century.
There is no aspect of Arctic life that remains untouched by the infinitude of change here, except for the eternal dance between light and darkness. The Arctic as we know it – a vast icy landscape where the reindeer roam, the polar bear feast, and the water teem with cod and seals – will soon only be frozen in memory.
A new nature climate change study predicts that summer ice floating on the Arctic Ocean’s surface may disappear completely by 2035. Until relatively recently, scientists did not think that we would reach this point by 2050 as soon as possible. Confirming the discovery, last month, Arctic sea ice reached its second-lowest limit in a 41-year satellite record.
“The latest models are basically showing that no matter what emission scenario we follow, we’re going to lose in the summer [sea] Snow cover before the middle of the century, ”says Julienne Strove, a senior research scientist at the US National Snow and Ice Center Center. “Even though we keep warming below 2C, it is enough to lose that summer sea ice in a few years.”
At the outpost in the Canadian Arctic, permafrost is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted. Roads are sinking. Houses are sinking In Siberia, giant craters block the tundra as temperatures hit 100F (38C) in the city of Verkhoysk in July. This spring, one of the fuel tanks at a Russian power plant collapsed and 21,000 metric tons of diesel leaked into a nearby waterway, which caused the spasf to be responsible for reducing the permitfrost.
This thawing releases two powerful greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, into the permafrost atmosphere and accelerates planetary warming.
The fierce heat causes fierce fires in the forests, which are now common in hot and dry parts of the Arctic. As recently as summer, the turnon was broken, destroying native vegetation in the tundra of Sweden, Alaska and Russia.
It hurts millions of reindeer and caribou, who eat moss, lichen, and strong grass. Icy rain-on-snow events have also increased in frequency, closing favorite foods that have been frozen in the snow; Between 2013 and 2014, an estimated 61,000 animals died due to massive starvation during a rainstorm in Russia’s Yamal Peninsula. Overall, the global population of reindeer and caribou has declined by 56% in the last 20 years.
Such losses have devastated the indigenous people whose culture and livelihoods are linked to the plight of reindeer and caribou. Inuit use all parts of caribou: sinners for thread, hide for clothing, antlers for tools and meat for food. In Europe and Russia, the Sami people swarmed thousands of reindeer in the tundra. Warm winters have forced many of them to change how they conduct their livelihoods, for example by providing supplements for their greens.
Still some find opportunities in crisis. Melting ice has made the region’s abundant mineral deposits and oil and gas reserves more accessible by ship. China is investing heavily in an increasingly ice-free northern sea route to the top of Russia, promising to cut shipping time between the Far East and Europe by 10 to 15 days.
The Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic Islands may soon receive another shortcut. And in Greenland, the vanishing ice is a treasure of uranium, zinc, gold, iron and rare earth elements. In 2019, Donald Trump claimed that he was considering buying Greenland from Denmark. Never before has the Arctic enjoyed such political relevance.
Kovid, in the hope of taking the perfect selfie under Aurora Borealis, at least until Kovid has closed, for the wealthy visitors of this foreign border. Between 2006 and 2016, the impact from winter tourism increased by over 600%. Norway’s city of Tromsø, known as the “Paris of the North”, welcomed just 36,000 tourists in the winter of 2008–09. By 2016, the number had risen to 194,000. However, realizing such interest is an ineffective feeling: that this may be the last chance people will have to experience the Arctic as it once was.
Preventing climate change in the Arctic requires a drastic reduction in fossil fuel emissions, and the world has made significant progress, despite the apparent urgency. In addition, many greenhouse gases persist for years in our atmosphere. Even if we were to stop all emissions tomorrow, it would take decades for those gases to dissolve and stabilize the temperature (although some recent research suggests that the spans may decrease). In the interim, more snow, permafrost and animals will be lost.
“At this point both emissions and carbon capture have decreased,” explains Strove. “We need to get out of there what we have already put in.”
Other strategies can help reduce damage to the ecosystem and its inhabitants. The Yupik village of Newtok in northern Alaska, where the thundering pemafrost subsides below ground, will be relocated by 2023. Conservation groups are emphasizing the establishment of several marine conservation areas in the high Arctic to protect struggling wildlife. In 2018, 10 parties signed an agreement that would ban commercial fishing in the high seas of the central Arctic Ocean for at least 16 years. And governments should weigh further regulations on new shipping and evacuation activities in the region.
The Arctic of the past is already gone. Following our current climate trajectory, it would be impossible to return to the conditions we saw three decades ago. Yet many experts believe that there is still time to act, to preserve what it once was, if the world comes together to prevent further damage and to this unique and fragile ecosystem Preserves the remains.