A “meteorological hammer” drops on the USA

Europe is already in the wrath of an Arctic blast, but a "meteorological hammer" is about to drop on the USA as well, gripping all but the westernmost regions in days or weeks of below-normal temperatures, supercell... READ MORE

Record temperatures in northern Alaska

The most northern town in Alaska, Utqiaġvik (71°N) reached 40°F/4.5°C on Monday, more than 37°F above the average high temperature for this time of year. Monday's temperature not only surpassed the previous... READ MORE

Temperatures in Europe have increased at more than twice the global average

Temperatures in Europe have increased at more than twice the global average over the past 30 years – the highest of any continent in the world. This includes the Arctic which is the fastest warming region on Earth.... READ MORE

Devastating floods in Nigeria claim over 600 lives

Intense floods like those inundating Nigeria in recent weeks are expected to become more frequent as the globe continues to warm under a thickening blanket of greenhouse gases.... READ MORE

Greenland 8°C warmer in September

In what would be the start to a series of anomalous temperature spikes in the autumnal shoulder season, the temperature at Greenland's highest point was above freezing on Sept 3--the first time ever recorded in... READ MORE

COUNTDOWN

CO2 Budget Depletion

UN SUSTAINABILITY DEVELOPMENT GOALS

SDG 14 - LIFE BELOW WATER

 

The Arctic Ocean is key to ocean health around the planet as it has the biggest impact on the worldwide oceanographic circulation systems, and is thus responsible for water and food security around the world. Since 1980, the amount of summer Arctic sea ice has halved, changing the entire global marine biome and circulatory patterns.  

GLOBAL

Oceans cover 70 percent of our planet, thus what happens to them inevitably affects all of us. In fact, the livelihoods of 3 billion people across the world – nearly half of the global population – depend directly on marine ecosystems (Jurkschat, 2020). As a natural carbon sink, oceans absorb roughly one-third of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. However, this CO2 is causing our oceans to acidify significantly, destroying coral reefs throughout the world’s shallow waters. 

ARCTIC

Despite being key to the survival of our planet, the Arctic Ocean rarely receives attention. Out of our seven oceans, the Arctic is most vulnerable to change while undergoing the most rapid change. Since 1980, the Arctic Ocean’s summer sea ice has halved, from seven to roughly three million square kilometers (Carmack et al., n.d.).  

 A warming Arctic will affect life in the Arctic Ocean, destroying the ecosystems of some sea organisms such as narwhals, polar bears, walrus, Saimaa ringed seals, orcas and Beluga whales (WWF, n.d.). Fisheries are moving northward, creating tensions between states, while also presenting new opportunities for exploitation, such as the case with snow crabs in Svalbard, Scandinavia and Russia (De Pooter, 2020). 

The loss or degradation of delicate Arctic ecosystems can put marine life – as well as communities, livelihoods and cultural practices that depend on it – under immense pressure. Aquatic species, such as Arctic char, abundant in Arctic Sweden and Norway, are declining due to warming waters, affecting Sámi fishing practices and food security. By 2100, Arctic char populations could be reduced by 73 percent (Jonsson, 2020).  

Having found up to 11,000 particles of microplastics in a single liter of melted sea ice, scientists identify marine microplastics as an emerging threat and conclude that the Arctic Ocean has the world’s highest microplastics concentrations out of all ocean basins in the world (Carmack et al., n.d.). 

 As new Arctic shipping routes open, oil spills and noise pollution become larger threats, further damaging fragile ecosystems. In 2020, Russia admitted to having caused the “world’s largest” oil spill in the Arctic, in Norilsk, totaling at roughly 21,000 tons of oil (The Moscow Times, 2020). The oil spill contaminated 350 square kilometers and bled into the Daldykan River, where the clean-up is estimated to take up to 10 years due, in part due to the lack of infrastructure (BBC, 2020).  

WWF has developed ArcNet, an Arctic Ocean network of priority areas for conservation, to protect marine biodiversity across the Arctic.

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ARCTIC RISK INDICATORS

The following gauges show up-to-date data regarding key indicators in the Arctic. These indicators clearly point to the crisis at hand.

The Arctic (66°N+) Surface Temperature
10 % days
in 2023 are above 90th percentile of 1981-2010
2 days
in 2023 are above 90th percentile of 1981-2010
Worldwide number of disasters
265 disasters
more events in 2022 in comparison to 1970s
183 disasters
more events in 2022 in comparison to 1980s
100 disasters
more events in 2022 in comparison to 1990s
Arctic Sea Ice Extent
1,053,999 km²
below 1981-2010 average on 24-Jan-2023
406,949 mi²
below 1981-2010 average on 24-Jan-2023
Arctic Wildfire emissions
-0.00 megatonnes CO₂e
CO₂e emissions in 2023 so far
Greenland rate of ice loss
4.5 hundred thousands l/s
on average in 1986-2015
4.5 tons per second
on average in 1986-2015
Arctic Air Quality (PM2.5)
1.71 microgram per cubic meter
on 25-Jan-2023