The Arctic is an indicator of climate stability. Today, science shows that the Arctic is in crisis, with all indicators on land, sea, and air showing rapid decline. There is about 40% less sea ice now than there was in the 1980s. This loss of Arctic sea ice, together with snow reductions, will exacerbate global warming by 25 – 40%. Greenland’s melting glaciers alone hold the capacity for 7.4m of sea level rise, which would cause worldwide devastation
Responsible for slowing down weather patterns, Arctic warming is directly linked to more intense summer heatwaves and drought, such as the 2022 heatwaves across the majority of the Northern Hemisphere. It is also increasing the risk to food supply chains by changing global precipitation.
The Arctic is a barometer of global risks, thus taking actions to protect the Arctic is in the best interest of human and ecological well being. In 2021, the Arctic Council made a joint declaration on the importance of immediately addressing climate change in the Arctic.
The eight Arctic countries are responsible for over one-fifth of the world’s carbon footprint (WWF, 2019). Iceland is making good strides for climate action and has the world’s highest share of renewable energy at approximately 85 percent of its energy supply. In 2022, Finland declared “the world’s most ambitious climate target” as the Finnish government stated its goal to reach net zero by 2035 and net negative only five years later (Ministry of the Environment, 2022).
The following gauges show up-to-date data regarding key indicators in the Arctic. These indicators clearly point to the crisis at hand.