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Member since: 2002
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Major Report Prompts Warnings That the Arctic Is Unraveling

The Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, suggests a huge assessment of the region. The warming is hastening the melting of Arctic ice and boosting sea-level rise.
The report, compiled by more than 90 scientists, documents the myriad changes already under way across the Arctic because of climate change—from declining sea ice and melting glaciers to shifting ecosystems and weather patterns. From 2011 to 2015, the assessment finds, the Arctic was warmer than at any time since records began around 1900 (see 'Arctic warming').
Sea ice continues to decline, and the extent of snow cover across the Arctic regions of North America and Eurasia each June has halved as compared to observations before 2000.
The findings come from the Snow, Water, Ice, and Permafrost in the Arctic report, a comprehensive assessment compiled every few years by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, the scientific body that reports to the governments that make up the Arctic Council, a forum for issues affecting the region. The last assessment came out in 2011.


If there's life on that world, something potentially catastrophic is happening to it.

We've all read the reports, or seen the media discussion. Except it can be a little hard to grasp the sheer magnitude of what our species has accomplished. Dire warnings that we've crossed 400 parts-per-million of atmospheric CO2 (a level last seen tens of millions of years ago) may sound pretty bad, but it takes a little intellectual imagination to really grasp what's going on.
Let's give that a shot.


Except that is for an average output, spread across 263 years. Estimates of today's CO2 production go as high as about 40 billion tons per year. That'd take something like ten billion acres of forest burning each year, which is about 42 million square kilometers. The entire continent of Africa is a mere 30 million square kilometers. So this, plus another third, on fire, each year:


meanwhile, in Europe...

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