Arctic shrinkage

Arctic shrinkage

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Arctic shrinkage'
Start a new discussion about 'Arctic shrinkage'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia

Ongoing changes in the climate of the Arctic
Climate of the Arctic
The climate of the Arctic is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers. There is a large amount of variability in climate across the Arctic, but all regions experience extremes of solar radiation in both summer and winter...

include rising temperatures, loss of sea ice
Sea ice
Sea ice is largely formed from seawater that freezes. Because the oceans consist of saltwater, this occurs below the freezing point of pure water, at about -1.8 °C ....

, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet
Greenland ice sheet
The Greenland ice sheet is a vast body of ice covering , roughly 80% of the surface of Greenland. It is the second largest ice body in the world, after the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The ice sheet is almost long in a north-south direction, and its greatest width is at a latitude of 77°N, near its...

. Projections of sea ice
Sea ice
Sea ice is largely formed from seawater that freezes. Because the oceans consist of saltwater, this occurs below the freezing point of pure water, at about -1.8 °C ....

 loss suggest that the Arctic ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

 will likely be free of summer sea ice sometime between 2060 and 2080, while another estimate puts this date at 2030. Because of the amplified response of the Arctic
Polar amplification
Polar amplification is the observation that "Climate models generally predict amplified warming in polar regions" due to climate feedbacks.Although the most simple climate models predict warming at both poles, the Antarctic has not warmed as much as the Arctic, and many modern climate models...

 to global warming, it is often seen as a high-sensitivity indicator of climate change. Scientists also point to the potential for release of methane from the Arctic region
Arctic methane release
Arctic methane release is the release of methane from seas and soils in permafrost regions of the Arctic, as part of a more general release of carbon from these soils and seas. Whilst a long-term natural process, it may be exacerbated by global warming. This results in a weak positive feedback...

, especially through the thawing of permafrost
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

 and methane clathrates. Arctic climate changes are summarized in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Climate Change 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , is the fourth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information concerning climate change, its potential effects, and options for...

 and the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment is a study describing the ongoing climate change in the Arctic and its consequences: rising temperatures, loss of sea ice, unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice sheet, and many impacts on ecosystems, animals, and people...

.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , pronounced , like "noah", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere...

 (NOAA)'s Arctic Report Card
Arctic Report Card
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Arctic Report Card presents annually updated, peer-reviewed information on recent observations of environmental conditions in the Arctic relative to historical records...

 presents annually updated, peer-review
Peer review
Peer review is a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance and provide credibility...

ed information on recent observations of environmental conditions in the Arctic relative to historical records.

Modelling, history, and predictions of sea ice


Computer models predict that the sea ice area will continue to shrink in the future, although recent work has called into question their ability to accurately predict sea ice changes. Current climate model
Climate model
Climate models use quantitative methods to simulate the interactions of the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, and ice. They are used for a variety of purposes from study of the dynamics of the climate system to projections of future climate...

s frequently underestimate the rate of sea ice retreat. In 2007 the IPCC
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

 reported that “the projected reduction [in global sea ice cover] is accelerated in the Arctic, where some models project summer sea ice cover to disappear entirely in the high-emission A2 scenario in the latter part of the 21st century.″ There is currently no scientific evidence
Scientific evidence
Scientific evidence has no universally accepted definition but generally refers to evidence which serves to either support or counter a scientific theory or hypothesis. Such evidence is generally expected to be empirical and properly documented in accordance with scientific method such as is...

 that a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean existed anytime in the last 700,000 years, although there were periods when the Arctic was warmer than it is today. Scientists are studying possible causal factors such as direct changes resulting from the greenhouse effect
Greenhouse effect
The greenhouse effect is a process by which thermal radiation from a planetary surface is absorbed by atmospheric greenhouse gases, and is re-radiated in all directions. Since part of this re-radiation is back towards the surface, energy is transferred to the surface and the lower atmosphere...

 as well as indirect changes such as unusual wind patterns, rising Arctic temperatures, or shifting water circulation (such as increasing inflows of warm, fresh water to the Arctic Ocean from rivers.)

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

, "warming in the Arctic, as indicated by daily maximum and minimum temperatures, has been as great as in any other part of the world." Reduction of the area of Arctic sea ice means less solar energy is reflected back into space, thus accelerating the reduction. Studies have shown that recent warming in the polar regions was due to the net effect human influence; the warming radiative forcing
Radiative forcing
In climate science, radiative forcing is generally defined as the change in net irradiance between different layers of the atmosphere. Typically, radiative forcing is quantified at the tropopause in units of watts per square meter. A positive forcing tends to warm the system, while a negative...

 of greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

es is only partially offset by the cooling effect of ozone depletion
Ozone depletion
Ozone depletion describes two distinct but related phenomena observed since the late 1970s: a steady decline of about 4% per decade in the total volume of ozone in Earth's stratosphere , and a much larger springtime decrease in stratospheric ozone over Earth's polar regions. The latter phenomenon...

.
Reliable measurement of sea ice edge begin within the satellite era in the late 1970s. Before this the region was less well monitored by a combination of ships, buoys and aircraft. On top of the long-term negative trend in recent years, attributed to global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

, there is considerable interannual variation. Some of this variation may be related to effects such as the arctic oscillation
Arctic oscillation
The Arctic oscillation or Northern Annular Mode/Northern Hemisphere Annular Mode is an index of the dominant pattern of non-seasonal sea-level pressure variations north of 20N latitude, and it is characterized by pressure anomalies of one sign in the Arctic with the opposite anomalies centered...

, which may itself be related to global warming; some of the variation is essentially random "weather noise".

The Arctic sea ice September minimum extent reached new record lows in 2002, 2005, and 2007 (39.2 percent below the 1979–2000 average). In 2007, Arctic sea ice broke all previous records by early August—a month before the end of melt season, with the biggest decline ever in Arctic sea ice minimum extent, more than a million square kilometers. In the first time in human memory, the fabled Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways amidst the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans...

 opened completely. The dramatic 2007 melting surprised and concerned scientists.

In 2008 and 2009, Arctic sea ice minimum extent was higher than 2007, but it did not return to the levels of previous years.

The sea ice thickness field, and accordingly the ice volume and mass, is much more difficult to determine than the extension. Exact measurements can be made only at a limited number of points. Because of large variations in ice and snow thickness and consistency air- and spaceborne measurements have to be evaluated carefully. Nevertheless the studies made support the assumption of a dramatic decline in ice age and – thickness. The Catlin Arctic Survey reported an average thickness of 1.8 meters across the northern Beaufort Sea
Beaufort Sea
The Beaufort Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Alaska, west of Canada's Arctic islands. The sea is named after hydrographer Sir Francis Beaufort...

, an area that had traditionally contained older, thicker ice.. Another approach is to simulate ice growth, melting and drift numerically in an integrated ocean-atmosphere model with input parameters fine tuned to fit model output to known thickness and extent data. The resulting time development shows a decrease of ice mass that is striking even after consideration of a possibly somewhat larger error bar than that of the extension data. Near complete ice freeness of the arctic ocean in late summer is probable as early as 2018.

The rate of the decline in entire arctic ice coverage is accelerating. From 1979–1996, the average per decade decline in entire ice coverage was a 2.2% decline in ice extent (i.e., area with at least 15% sea ice coverage) and a 3% decline in ice area. For the decade ending 2008, these values have risen to 10.1% and 10.7%, respectively. These are comparable to the September to September loss rates in year-round ice (i.e., perennial ice, which survives throughout the year), which averaged a retreat of 10.2% and 11.4% per decade, respectively, for the period 1979–2007. This is consistent with ICESat
ICESat
ICESat , part of NASA's Earth Observing System, was a satellite mission for measuring ice sheet mass balance, cloud and aerosol heights, as well as land topography and vegetation characteristics...

 measurements indicating decreased thickness in arctic ice and a decline in multi-year ice. For the period 2005–2008, multi-year ice decreased 42% in coverage and 40% in volume, a loss of ~6300 km3.

A 2010 study attributes that the recent Arctic temperature amplification was caused by the loss of sea ice itself, which exposes water instead of more reflective ice to solar radiation.

Effects



The effects of Arctic climate change include a marked decrease in Arctic sea ice; melting permafrost
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

, leading to the release of methane
Arctic methane release
Arctic methane release is the release of methane from seas and soils in permafrost regions of the Arctic, as part of a more general release of carbon from these soils and seas. Whilst a long-term natural process, it may be exacerbated by global warming. This results in a weak positive feedback...

, a potent greenhouse gas; the release of methane from clathrates, leading to longer time-scale methane release; the observed increase in melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet in recent years; and potential changes in patterns of ocean circulation. Scientists worry that some of these effects may cause positive feedbacks which could accelerate the rate of global warming.

Sea ice



The sea ice
Sea ice
Sea ice is largely formed from seawater that freezes. Because the oceans consist of saltwater, this occurs below the freezing point of pure water, at about -1.8 °C ....

 in the Arctic region is in itself important in maintaining global climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 due to its albedo
Albedo
Albedo , or reflection coefficient, is the diffuse reflectivity or reflecting power of a surface. It is defined as the ratio of reflected radiation from the surface to incident radiation upon it...

 (reflectivity). Melting of this sea ice
Sea ice
Sea ice is largely formed from seawater that freezes. Because the oceans consist of saltwater, this occurs below the freezing point of pure water, at about -1.8 °C ....

 will therefore exacerbate global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 due to positive feedback
Positive feedback
Positive feedback is a process in which the effects of a small disturbance on a system include an increase in the magnitude of the perturbation. That is, A produces more of B which in turn produces more of A. In contrast, a system that responds to a perturbation in a way that reduces its effect is...

 effects, where warming creates more warming by increased solar absorption. An important feedback in the Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 currently is ice-albedo feedback
Ice-albedo feedback
Ice-albedo feedback is a positive feedback climate process where a change in the area of snow-covered land, ice caps, glaciers or sea ice alters the albedo. This change in albedo acts to reinforce the initial alteration in ice area...

. The loss of the Arctic sea ice may represent a tipping point
Tipping point (climatology)
A climate tipping point is a point when global climate changes from one stable state to another stable state, in a similar manner to a wine glass tipping over. After the tipping point has been passed, a transition to a new state occurs...

 in global warming, when 'runaway'
Runaway climate change
Runaway climate change describes a theoretical scenario in which the climate system passes a threshold or tipping point, after which internal positive feedback effects cause the climate to continue changing without further external forcings...

 climate change starts. This would be due to the release of methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

 from permafrost and clathrates
Clathrate gun hypothesis
The clathrate gun hypothesis is the popular name given to the hypothesis that rises in sea temperatures can trigger the sudden release of methane from methane clathrate compounds buried in seabeds and permafrost which, because the methane itself is a powerful greenhouse gas, leads to further...

 in the region, and also because of ice-albedo feedback effects. However, recent research has challenged the notion of ice-albedo feedback causing an imminent Arctic sea ice tipping point.


April 3, 2007, the National Wildlife Federation
National Wildlife Federation
The National Wildlife Federation is the United States' largest private, nonprofit conservation education and advocacy organization, with over four million members and supporters, and 48 state and territorial affiliated organizations...

 urged the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 to place polar bear
Polar Bear
The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...

s under the Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and...

.
Four months later, the United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

 completed a year-long study which concluded in part that the floating Arctic sea ice will continue its rapid shrinkage over the next 50 years, consequently wiping out much of the polar bear habitat
Habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

. The bears would disappear from Alaska, but would continue to exist in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
Canadian Arctic Archipelago
The Canadian Arctic Archipelago, also known as the Arctic Archipelago, is a Canadian archipelago north of the Canadian mainland in the Arctic...

 and areas off the northern Greenland coast. Secondary ecological effects are also resultant from the shrinkage of sea ice; for example, Polar Bear
Polar Bear
The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...

s are denied their historic length of seal hunting season due to late formation and early thaw of pack ice.

Loss of permafrost



Sea ice loss has melting effects on permafrost, both in the sea, and on land and consequential effects on methane release, and wildlife. Some studies imply a direct link, as they predict cold air passing over ice is replaced by warm air passing over the sea. This warm air carries heat to the permafrost around the Arctic, and melts it. This thawing of the permafrost might accelerate methane release from areas like Siberia.

Clathrate gun





Sea ice
Sea ice
Sea ice is largely formed from seawater that freezes. Because the oceans consist of saltwater, this occurs below the freezing point of pure water, at about -1.8 °C ....

 serves to stabilise methane deposits on and near the shoreline, preventing the clathrate breaking down and outgassing methane into the atmosphere. Any methane released to the atmosphere will then cause further warming.

Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet


Models predict a sea-level contribution of about 5 centimetres (2 in) from melting in Greenland during the 21st century. It is also predicted that Greenland will become warm enough by 2100 to begin an almost complete melt during the next 1,000 years or more.

Ice thickness measurements from the GRACE
Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment
The Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment , a joint mission of NASA and the German Space Agency, has been making detailed measurements of Earth's gravity field since its launch in March 2002....

 satellite indicate that ice mass loss is accelerating. For the period 2002–2009, the rate of loss increased from −137 Gt/yr to −286 Gt/yr, with an acceleration of −30 gigatonnes per year per year.

Effect on ocean circulation


Although this is now thought unlikely in the near future, it has also been suggested that there could be a shutdown of thermohaline circulation
Shutdown of thermohaline circulation
Shutdown or slowdown of the thermohaline circulation is a postulated effect of global warming.There is some speculation that global warming could, via a shutdown or slowdown of the thermohaline circulation, trigger localised cooling in the North Atlantic and lead to cooling, or lesser warming, in...

, similar to that which is believed to have driven the Younger Dryas
Younger Dryas
The Younger Dryas stadial, also referred to as the Big Freeze, was a geologically brief period of cold climatic conditions and drought between approximately 12.8 and 11.5 ka BP, or 12,800 and 11,500 years before present...

, an abrupt climate change
Abrupt climate change
An abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to transition to a new state at a rate that is determined by the climate system itself, and which is more rapid than the rate of change of the external forcing...

 event. There is also potentially a possibility of a more general disruption of ocean circulation, which may lead to an ocean anoxic event, although these are believed to be much more common in the distant past. It is unclear whether the appropriate pre-conditions for such an event exist today.

Geoengineering


Geoengineering approaches offer interventions which may increase Arctic ice, or reduce its decline. These operate either by regional effects (Arctic geoengineering) or global effects (geoengineering). Several specific Arctic geoengineering schemes have been proposed to reduce Arctic climate change. Further, scientists such as Paul Crutzen have argued for general geoengineering proposals such as using stratospheric sulfur aerosols
Stratospheric sulfur aerosols (geoengineering)
The ability of stratospheric sulfate aerosols to create a global dimming effect has made them a possible candidate for use in geoengineering projects to limit the effect and impact of climate change due to rising levels of greenhouse gases...

 to be used, which will affect the Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 if deployed in or near this region.

According to John Holdren
John Holdren
John Paul Holdren is advisor to President Barack Obama for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology...

, Assistant to the President of the United States for Science and Technology, complete loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic would be a milestone that could justify geoengineering in order to purposely cool the climate. Holdren believes that complete loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic could signal an increased chance of "really intolerable consequences."

National


Individual countries within the Arctic zone, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 (Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

), Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 (Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

) conduct independent research through a variety of organizations and agencies, public and private, such as Russia's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute
Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute
The Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, or AARI is the oldest and largest Russian research institute in the field of comprehensive studies of Arctic and Antarctica...

. Countries who do not have Arctic claims, but are close neighbors, conduct Arctic research as well, such as the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration
Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration
The Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration is a Beijing-based agency of the People's Republic of China's State Oceanic Administration...

 (CAA).

International


International cooperative research between nations has become increasingly important:
  • DAMOCLES (Developing Arctic Modeling and Observing Capabilities for Long-term Environmental Studies): European integrated project "specifically concerned with the potential for a significantly reduced sea ice cover, and the impacts this might have on the environment and on human activities, both regionally and globally".
  • European Space Agency
    European Space Agency
    The European Space Agency , established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 18 member states...

     (ESA) launched CryoSat-2 on 8 April 2010. It provides satellite data on Arctic ice cover change rates.
  • International Arctic Buoy Program
    International Arctic Buoy Program
    The International Arctic Buoy Program is headquartered at the Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, in Seattle, Washington, United States...

    : deploys and maintains buoys that provide real-time position, pressure, temperature, and interpolated ice velocity data
  • International Arctic Research Center
    International Arctic Research Center
    The International Arctic Research Center, or IARC, established in 1999, is a research institution focused on integrating and coordinating study of climate change in the Arctic. The primary partners in IARC are Japan and the United States...

    : Main participants are the United States and Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    .
  • International Arctic Science Committee
    International Arctic Science Committee
    The International Arctic Science Committee is a non-governmental organization which is composed of international science groups participating in arctic science research. IASC is an International Scientific Associate of ICSU, and was established in 1990...

    : non-governmental organization
    Organization
    An organization is a social group which distributes tasks for a collective goal. The word itself is derived from the Greek word organon, itself derived from the better-known word ergon - as we know `organ` - and it means a compartment for a particular job.There are a variety of legal types of...

     (NGO) with diverse membership, including 18 countries from 3 continents.
  • 'Role of the Arctic Region', in conjunction with the International Polar Year
    International Polar Year
    The International Polar Year is a collaborative, international effort researching the polar regions. Karl Weyprecht, an Austro-Hungarian naval officer, motivated the endeavor, but died before it first occurred in 1882-1883. Fifty years later a second IPY occurred...

    , was the focus of the second international conference on Global Change Research, held in Nynäshamn
    Nynäshamn
    - References :...

    , Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

    , October, 2007.
  • SEARCH (Study of Environmental Arctic Change
    Study of Environmental Arctic Change
    Study of Environmental ARctic CHange is an interdisciplinary, multiscale program at the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. in Fairbanks, Alaska, USA. It is a focused, vertically structured organization through which government agencies can study the newest data collected on Arctic...

    ): Supported by the Arctic Research Office
    Arctic Research Office
    The a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration run under the auspices of the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research ....

    , a division of the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , pronounced , like "noah", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere...

     (NOAA), and the Russian Academy of Sciences
    Russian Academy of Sciences
    The Russian Academy of Sciences consists of the national academy of Russia and a network of scientific research institutes from across the Russian Federation as well as auxiliary scientific and social units like libraries, publishers and hospitals....

    .

Territorial claims



Growing evidence that global warming is shrinking polar ice has added to the urgency of several nations' Arctic territorial claims
Territorial claims in the Arctic
Under international law, no country currently owns the North Pole or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it. The five surrounding Arctic states, Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark , are limited to an exclusive economic zone of adjacent to their coasts.Upon ratification...

 in hopes of establishing resource development and new shipping lanes, in addition to protecting sovereign rights.

Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller
Per Stig Møller
Per Stig Møller was Culture Minister of Denmark. He has been a member of Folketinget for the Conservative People's Party since 1984, and was Minister for the Environment from December 18, 1990 to January 24, 1993 as part of the Cabinet of Poul Schlüter IV and Foreign Minister from November 27,...

 and Greenland's Premier Hans Enoksen
Hans Enoksen
Hans Enoksen is a Greenlandic politician who served as the fourth Prime Minister of Greenland from 2002 to 2009.A Greenlandic monoglot, he has been a member of the Parliament of Greenland since 1995...

 invited foreign minister
Foreign minister
A Minister of Foreign Affairs, or foreign minister, is a cabinet minister who helps form the foreign policy of a sovereign state. The foreign minister is often regarded as the most senior ministerial position below that of the head of government . It is often granted to the deputy prime minister in...

s from Canada, Norway, Russia and the United States to Ilulissat, Greenland
Ilulissat
Ilulissat is a town in the Qaasuitsup municipality in western Greenland, located approximately north of the Arctic Circle. With the population of 4,546 as of 2010, it is the third-largest settlement in Greenland, after Nuuk and Sisimiut....

 for a summit in May 2008 to discuss how to divide borders in the changing Arctic region, and a discussion on more cooperation against climate change affecting the Arctic. At the Arctic Ocean Conference
Arctic Ocean Conference
The inaugural Arctic Ocean Conference was held in Ilulissat, Greenland May 27 — May 29, 2008. Five countries, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States, discussed key issues relating to the Arctic Ocean. The meeting was significant because of its plans for environmental regulation,...

, Foreign Ministers and other officials representing the five countries announced the Ilulissat Declaration
Ilulissat Declaration
The Ilulissat Declaration was announced on May 28, 2008 by five Arctic circumpolar nations meeting at the political level during the Arctic Ocean Conference in Ilulissat, Greenland to discuss the Arctic ocean, climate change, the protection of the marine environment, maritime safety, and division...

 on May 28, 2008.

See also

  • Abrupt climate change
    Abrupt climate change
    An abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to transition to a new state at a rate that is determined by the climate system itself, and which is more rapid than the rate of change of the external forcing...

  • Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
    Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
    The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment is a study describing the ongoing climate change in the Arctic and its consequences: rising temperatures, loss of sea ice, unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice sheet, and many impacts on ecosystems, animals, and people...

  • NOAA: Arctic Theme Page – A comprehensive resource focused on the Arctic
  • NOAA: The Future of Arctic Climate and Global Impacts
  • Arctic haze
    Arctic Haze
    Arctic haze is the phenomenon of a visible reddish-brown haze in the atmosphere at high latitudes in the Arctic due to air pollution. A major distinguishing factor of Arctic haze is the ability of its chemical ingredients to persist in the atmosphere for an extended period of time compared to other...

  • Arctic methane release
    Arctic methane release
    Arctic methane release is the release of methane from seas and soils in permafrost regions of the Arctic, as part of a more general release of carbon from these soils and seas. Whilst a long-term natural process, it may be exacerbated by global warming. This results in a weak positive feedback...

  • Climate of the Arctic
    Climate of the Arctic
    The climate of the Arctic is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers. There is a large amount of variability in climate across the Arctic, but all regions experience extremes of solar radiation in both summer and winter...

  • Long-term effects of global warming
    Long-term effects of global warming
    There are expected to be various long-term effects of global warming. Most discussion and research, including that by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, concentrates on the effects of global warming up to 2100, with only an outline of the effects beyond this...


External links