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Arctic has switched from carbon sink to source. NOAA Arctic Report Card Dec 2016...

sea ice volume



We are at risk of pushing our climate system toward abrupt, irreversible change
What we know AAAS March 2104

We are in a state of planetary emergency (due to Arctic sea ice tipping point)
James Hansen 19 Sept 2012 - repeating his emergency warning of 2008, in response to the 2012 summer sea ice record low.

May 2013 Science
Very high Arctic climate sensitivity

Permafrost thaw under warming - far worse than imagined Paper Feb 2013


In addition to the warming effect of current forcing and emissions, methane plays a role in climatic feedback mechanisms that can exacerbate warming and even lead to abrupt, catastrophic climate change in the future. This risk is primarily associated with the rapid release of carbon stores in the Arctic.

A major release of Arctic methane would have a devastating impact on the global climate, and evidence indicates it has played a role in past warming events in the paleoclimate record.  J. Stolaroff et al Environ. Sci. Technol. July 2012.


The Arctic snow and summer sea ice cooling albedo is the 'air conditioner' of the entire Northern Hemisphere.

Its loss will affect the world's best food producing regions with increased climate variability, extreme heat and drought.

April 2014 NRC
Arctic Matters- Global impacts

Arctic Health Research

IPCC AR5 2014 WG2 SPM p. 15. ‘Examples that could lead to substantial impact on climate [i.e., amplifying carbon feedback] are the boreal-tundra Arctic system... carbon stored in the terrestrial biosphere (e.g., in peatlands, permafrost, and forests)'
IPCC AR4 2007 These [Arctic] changes will have cascading effects on key regional bio-physical systems and cause global climatic feedbacks

Arctic summer sea ice rapid melt- past tipping point

Arctic albedo cooling rapid decline

"The fall-off in ice volume is so fast that it is going to bring us to zero very quickly. 2015 is a very serious prediction and I think I am pretty much persuaded that , that's when it will happen."

Professor Peter Wadhams, Leading Arctic Expert, Cambridge University, January 2012