A current extreme heatwave in Siberia is bringing new record temperatures daily. Heat records are being broken... READ MORE
The early warning we issued on May 25th for the first heatwave in #Greenland has occurred on May 31st to June 1st with a temperature anomaly event and high ice melt... READ MORE
The Arctic Risk Platform has a new Pan-Arctic Alert System (PAAS) using operational weather forecasting, satellite and ground observations to deliver updates of a real-time view of unfolding climate extremes. This is... READ MORE
The first moderate heatwave is forecast for Greenland around June 1,... READ MORE
Below the surface, the Petermann Glacier, one of Greenland's largest, is actively melting--from... READ MORE
CO2 Budget Depletion
PERMAFROST THAW RELEASES SUNK CARBON. The Arctic’s permanently frozen ground - home to enormous amounts of trapped carbon - is warming quickly as the global climate changes. The thawing soil is expected to release about 18 billion tonnes of CO2 for every 1°C of warming into the future and has the potential to unleash vast amounts (200 Peta-tonnes) of methane directly into the atmosphere - a potent greenhouse gas that is currently frozen as clathrates within soil, wetlands and subglacially across the Arctic.
Research by Woodwell indicates that emissions from permafrost thaw this century could be on par with continued emissions by Japan or as high as continued emissions by the United States (Natali, Rogers, 2021). This means that permafrost thaw emissions could use up 25-40% of the remaining carbon budget to stay below 2°C (Natali, Rogers, 2021).
A HOTTER, DRIER ARCTIC DRIVES POLLUTING WILDFIRES. The Arctic - now heating up three times faster than the world as a whole - has experienced two extreme summers of large-scale wildfires in recent years. Wildfires in Siberia burned six million hectares (about the size of Lithuania) and, according to the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, released 800 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021, which is approximately equivalent to the yearly emissions of Germany.SEE THE DATA
THAWING PERMAFROST COULD EXPOSE TOXINS FROM CONTAMINATED LAND. Research by Langer et al (2023) has found a “serious environmental threat, which is exacerbated by climate change in the near future”. Thawing permafrost could expose between 13,000 and 20,000 contaminated sites in permafrost regions of the Arctic. As the permafrost thaws, as a result of rapid Arctic warming, the risk of contamination and mobilisation of toxic substances increases. It is possible that approximately “1100 industrial sites and 3500 to 5200 contaminated sites located in regions of stable permafrost will start to thaw before the end of this century”. The study advises that climate change needs to be accounted for in long-term planning for contaminated sites in the Arctic.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the world’s most authoritative source on climate change. It reviews all published literature to provide comprehensive and objective scientific information.
AS PERMAFROST THAWS, A CARBON VAULT IS UNLOCKED
The Arctic’s permanently frozen ground is thawing quickly and, thanks to climate-affected warmer, dryer soil, is increasingly prone to fires, according to the UN’s latest special report on climate science. Half of all Arctic land (not including land under permanent ice sheets and glaciers) is frozen as permafrost, but, thanks to climate change, the frozen ground has warmed by more than a quarter of a degree Celsius every year between 2007 and 2016.
Charts best viewed in landscape mode, rotate your phone to explore this chart.
The following gauges show up-to-date data regarding key indicators in the Arctic. These indicators clearly point to the crisis at hand.