Rising Arctic temperatures triggering alarms about climate change
Higher temperatures during winters in the Arctic are more than just a temporary rise—they’re further signs of the warming of the Earth, and they’ll affect more than just polar bears.
Last year’s temperatures in the Arctic were the warmest on record. “Of nearly three dozen different Arctic weather stations, 15 of them were at least 10F (5.6C) above normal for the winter,” said a story in The Guardian. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.
When we experience heat waves in the summer (no matter where we are in the world), the consequences of the high temperatures are often immediately obvious: drought, multiple health issues, higher death tolls from heatstroke, more severe wildfires, and crop failures, just to name a few.
When temperatures are abnormally high in the Arctic, the general population in the rest of the world doesn’t notice the effects immediately. The higher temperatures can have an immediate devastating effect on local inhabitants and the wildlife in the area, but they will hit us all in the long run.
The rest of the world will feel the consequences of warmer winters in the Arctic soon enough. Some of those consequences will be rising sea levels from melting glaciers and ice caps, which could be catastrophic for the millions of people living in low-lying areas, especially in Asia; increased release of trapped carbon dioxide and methane gas into the atmosphere as permafrost thaws; less salinity in seawater, causing a change in ocean currents; changes in precipitation patterns; and greater likelihood of extreme weather throughout the Northern hemisphere.
“The Arctic is warming faster than any other region on Earth, and the world is already feeling the effects,” explains a website from the World Wildlife Federation on how climate change affects the Arctic.