A disappearing Arctic and its ramifications: will we act before it’s too late?
The Arctic as we’ve known it is fast disappearing. Recent scientific research at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science has indicated that, for instance, the Greenland ice sheet now faces long-lasting and irreversible melting due to global warming. Permafrost is also thawing decades earlier than expected, thereby exacerbating climate change. Additionally, over the past half century, sea ice – a one to five metre thick layer of frozen sea water – has retreated or thinned out across large parts of the Arctic. For several years in a row now, the summer sea ice extent has reached record lows, and by some estimates, summer sea ice could disappear completely as soon as the 2020s.