As the Arctic Council convenes in Fairbanks, it is a good time to remind ourselves that, unlike Las Vegas, what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic.
The Arctic – its sea ice, terrestrial ice sheets, glaciers and permafrost – has significant influence on the planet’s weather patterns. Ocean currents, sea levels and rainfall patterns are all affected by what’s happening in the Arctic.
All life on Earth has adapted for millions of years with a relatively stable Artic. That’s no longer the case. Today our generation is presiding over the dismantling of the Arctic and its stabilizing systems just when we need them the most.
Think of the Arctic as the planet’s air conditioner, and then imagine an endless brutal heat wave during which that air conditioner no longer works. Not a happy or healthy future.
Why is the Arctic coming apart?
Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are increasing global temperatures, and the Arctic region is warming at a rate more than double the global average