The Arctic has lost nearly 7% of its land over the past century and most of these losses have happened over the past decade, according to research in the journal Nature Communications. Climate change-induced increases in temperature have led to melting and erosion of the ice, while permafrost, the permanently frozen ground that covers much of the region, is thawing at an unparalleled rate, causing the ground to collapse. In addition, there are rapid levels of glacier melting, which has contributed to the increase in global sea levels. Arctic glaciers account for between 25-30% of worldwide rising sea levels.
New study reveals alarming decrease in Arctic landmass
A new study published in the scientific journal Nature Communications has revealed an alarming decrease in Arctic landmass. The study, which is the first of its kind to use satellite data to measure changes in Arctic land ice, found that the region has lost nearly 7% of its land area over the past century, with most of the losses occurring in the last decade.
The Science behind the Arctic Landmass Decrease
The study used satellite data to measure changes in Arctic land ice over the past century. The data showed that the region has lost nearly 7% of its land area, which equates to an area roughly the size of Mexico. The study’s lead author, Dr. Twila Moon, attributes the majority of the losses to climate change-induced temperature increases and ensuing melting and erosion of the ice.
Specifically, the study found that permafrost – the permanently frozen ground that covers much of the Arctic – is thawing at an unprecedented rate. This thawing is causing the ground to collapse, leading to the loss of land and changes in local ecosystems. Additionally, the study found that glaciers are melting at an accelerating rate, contributing to the loss of land and changes in sea level.
The Impacts of the Decrease in Arctic Landmass
The decrease in Arctic landmass has significant implications for both the region and the planet as a whole. First, the loss of land is affecting local ecosystems, which could have knock-on effects on the wider Arctic food chain. According to Dr. Moon, “The changes we’re seeing are large enough to impact the Arctic’s hydrology, ecology, and permafrost.”
Second, the melting of Arctic glaciers is contributing to rising global sea levels. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Arctic glaciers are responsible for an estimated 25-30% of the global rise in sea levels. This rise in sea levels could lead to flooding of low-lying areas and displacement of coastal communities.
The Urgency of Taking Action to combat Climate Change
The study’s findings underscore the urgency of taking action to combat climate change. Dr. Moon warns that “There is still time to slow the changes we’re seeing, but it’s not unlimited. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take aggressive action to limit warming if we want to preserve the Arctic as we know it.”
Overall, the study represents a wake-up call for policymakers and the public alike. The loss of Arctic landmass not only has consequences for the region but for the entire planet.
What is permafrost?
Permafrost is the permanently frozen ground that covers much of the Arctic region. It contains huge amounts of carbon, which is released as the permafrost thaws due to global warming.
What is causing the loss of Arctic landmass?
The loss of Arctic landmass is primarily caused by climate change-induced warming, which is leading to the melting and erosion of land ice.
What are the implications of the loss of Arctic landmass?
The loss of Arctic landmass has significant implications for local ecosystems and global sea levels, which could lead to flooding of low-lying areas and displacement of coastal communities.
What can be done to combat climate change?
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and taking aggressive action to limit warming is critical in combatting climate change. This can be achieved through a range of policies and actions, including reducing fossil fuel use, promoting clean energy practices, and investing in green infrastructure.