Consisting of deep ocean covered by drifting pack ice and surrounded by continents and archipelagos around the Earth’s North Pole, the Arctic is the planet’s largest and least fragmented inhabited region.
But by the end of this century, the Arctic will be a very different place. Temperatures are warming more than twice as fast as they are for the planet as a whole. Sea ice is melting. Arctic wildlife and people are beginning to live altered lives.
Observations, whether from satellites, sensors, or from people who live in the Arctic tell the same story – the Arctic climate is changing at a very fast pace.
The Artic is warming faster than the rest of the world….
Why? Shiny ice and snow reflect a high proportion of the sun’s energy into space. As the Arctic loses snow and ice, bare rock and water absorb more and more of the sun’s energy, making it ever warmer. This is called the albedo effect.
A small temperature shift can have enormous implications
Even an increase of 2°C could be too much. A slight shift in temperature, bringing averages above the freezing point, will completely alter the character of the region.
- As snow and ice melt, the ability of the Arctic to reflect heat back to space is reduced, accelerating the overall rate of global warming.
- Some Arctic fisheries will likely disappear.
- We are likely to see more forest fires and storm damage to coastal communities in the Arctic.
- Glaciers, sea ice and tundra will melt, contributing to global sea level rises.
- A warmer Arctic could halt the Gulf Stream, which brings warmer water and weather to north-western Europe.
Arctic change affects everyone
Climate change in the Arctic is not just a local problem – it’s a global problem. The feedbacks from the Arctic are increasing global sea levels, they are predicted to change global climate and precipitation patterns, and the effects of climate change on Arctic species are likely to be felt globally.
At MindfulnessUK we have decided to try and do our bit to help The World Wildlife Fund in its work with climate change . We need to remember that this planet is somewhere we want our future generations to live.
Here are some of the projects that the WWF are doing..
What WWF is doing
The Last Ice Area
One stretch of ice is projected to remain when all other large areas of summer ice are gone. This is the Last Ice Area. We’re working with Inuit organizations, communities, and governments in Greenland and Canada to plan for the future of this region.
We’re identifying and mapping the places that will be most resilient to climate change and assisting in the development and implementation of adaptation strategies for species, ecosystems, and cultures in coping with a changing climate in the Arctic.
We fund field-based projects in the Arctic to understand the effect of climate change on people, species and landscapes.