Arctic Is Warming 4 Times Faster Than Anyplace Else

Weather in North America could be increasingly affected, scientists say
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2022 6:55 PM CDT
Arctic Is Warming Much Faster Than Anyplace Else: Research
An iceberg delivered by members of Arctic Basecamp is displayed near the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, in November. The four-ton block of ice, originally part of a larger glacier, was brought from Greenland to Glasgow by climate scientists as a statement on the scale of the climate crisis.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

The Arctic isn't just melting, researchers say: It's warming much faster than the rest of the world is and has been for decades. A study published Thursday confirms scientists' warnings, finding that the rate of temperature increase around the North Pole has been four times the rate that the rest of the planet is heating up, CNN reports. The difference often has been reported to be two to three times that of the rest of the planet. "The Arctic is really more sensitive to global warming than previously thought," said Mika Rantanen, lead author of the study by researchers at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Portions of the region, such as the Barents Sea north of Norway and Russia, are warming up to seven times faster than the rest of Earth, researchers said. Greenland ice sheet is melting faster, which leads to the rise in sea levels. But the effects are also felt in North America's weather, per the New York Times. The changing temperature difference—which scientists call Arctic amplification—seems to be altering storm tracks and wind speed in North America, contributing to heat waves and heavy rainfall. "The Arctic amplification is unmistakable," said John Walsh, chief scientist at the International Arctic Research Center in the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who was not involved in the study. The researchers examined temperature trends in the Arctic Circle from 1979 to 2021.

Heat-trapping emissions from burning fossil fuels are what causes Arctic amplification. A UN report says that if the burning of fossil fuels continues unchecked and greenhouse gases continue to be into the atmosphere, the Arctic will keep warming faster than anyplace else, per CNN. Influence on the world's weather could increase. And researchers said that climate models aren't reflecting the difference in warming, which means the models might not be trustworthy in the future. Mika Rantanen, one of the Finnish researchers, said the faster Arctic warming is concerning. "One has to measure it much better, and all the time, because we are at the precipice of many tipping points," he said. (More global warming stories.)

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