Outlook for the Polar Regions in a 2 Degrees Warmer World
International Team Assesses Widespread Effects of Polar Warming
The study, published today in the journal Science Advances reports that the Arctic has warmed by 0.75°C in the last decade alone. By comparison, the Earth as a whole has warmed by nearly the same amount, 0.8°C, over the past 137 years.
“Many of the changes over the past decade are so dramatic they make you wonder what the next decade of warming will bring,” said lead author Eric Post, a UC Davis professor of climate change ecology. “”If we haven’t already entered a new Arctic, we are certainly on the threshold.”
An Arctic fox in Siberia. (Jeff Kerby)
Consequences for the polar regions
– Eric Post
The study illustrates what 2°C of global warming could mean for the high latitudes: up to 7°C warming for the Arctic and 3°C warming for the Antarctic during some months of the year.
The authors say that active, near-term measures to reduce carbon emissions are crucial to slowing high latitude warming, especially in the Arctic.
Greenland, July 2008. The Arctic has already reached the 2 degrees Celsius warming milestone during some months of the year. (Eric Post, UC Davis)
Beyond the poles
“What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” said co-author Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences at Penn State. “The dramatic warming and melting of Arctic ice is impacting the jet stream in a way that gives us more persistent and damaging weather extremes.”
Funding for the study was provided by grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, Academy of Finland and JPI Climate, National Geographic Society, Natural Environment Research Council, the Swedish Research Council, U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and NOAA.
Eric Post, UC Davis Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, (530) 574-1346, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kat Kerlin, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-752-7704, email@example.com