Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Arctic losing fight against climate change

Climate change is being particularly felt in Arctic where ice is melting rapidly. The melting of the Arctic will not only significantly increase global sea levels but will also very likely accelerate global climate change impact. This is because there are huge quantities of organic carbon locked away as frozen plant matter in the big permafrost region of the Arctic, and the rapid melting of Arctic ice could very soon (within the next 20 years) lead to an irreversible climate "tipping point".

This locked carbon, mostly in form of frozen leaves and roots remained frosted for thousands of years but once released could lead to a real catastrophe.

According to the latest study by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado, the irreversible tipping point, at which Arctic will stop being absorber of carbon dioxide and become completely the opposite, a source that will speed up the global warming, will likely occur between 2020 and 2030.

This study also predicts that by 2200 about two-thirds of the Earth's permafrost will likely melt resulting in estimated 190 billion tons of carbon dioxide and methane emissions, which is roughly half of all the fossil fuel emissions of greenhouse gases in the last 300 years.

The worst part in the whole story is the fact that once the frozen carbon thaws out and decays, there is no way to put it back into the permafrost, and it can only end up in atmosphere, giving more boost to global warming.

The Arctic is already feeling the negative consequences of climate change, summer ice is at record lows, the temperatures are higher than ever, and many native animals species such as polar bears are already finding it extremely hard to survive.

There is still no sign of new international climate deal, and there is no adequate emission reduction strategies to prevent further strengthening of climate change impact.

The Arctic may well become the main battleground that will decide the outcome in our fight against climate change. At this moment climate change is a clear favorite.

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