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Climate Change in the Arctic & around the globe

Greenland ice to melt completely with just 1.6° warming?

Greenland ice sheet, photo by Irene Quaile

If the Greenland ice sheet were to melt completely, sea level could rise by 7 metres

A new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid indicates that Greenland’s ice sheet could be much more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought. It estimates the trigger for a complete melting of the ice sheet at somewhere between 0.8 and 3.2°C of global warming, with the most likely figure at 1.6°C. above temperatures before industrialisation. A  O.8°C rise has already been registered. In the long term, a huge melting of land ice could result in major rises in sea level, which would threaten coastal and low-lying areas and the lives of millions of people. More on the DW environment website.

 

Date

March 12, 2012 | 9:20 am

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Oil from the Arctic: Is it time for an Arctic Treaty?

The Arctic island of Svalbard from the air

An oil spill would have drastic consequences for the pristine Arctic environment

Given the increased interest in drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic as the area becomes more accessible in a changing climate, concern is also growing about the dangers an accident could pose to the fragile environment of the “high North”.  An editorial in the publication NATURE argues that we need a binding agreement like the Antarctic Treaty to protect the Arctic from pollution.

Date

February 7, 2012 | 12:57 pm

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Greenland’s indigenous people and the race for resources


This is Greenland journalist Nuno Isbosethsen,currently visiting Bonn and photographed here on Greenland’s “national day”. She was taking part in a panel at the “Global Media Forum” on “Indigenous peoples and the race for resources”. She was telling us how difficult it is for indigenous people to have their say when it comes to exploiting the natural resources becoming increasingly accessible in a warming climate.

Date

June 21, 2011 | 3:50 pm

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Greenpeace boss risks jail to stop Arctic drilling

 

You can’t get much higher-profile than this. The International Executive Director of Greenpeace, Kumi Naidoo, has scaled the controversial Arctic oil rig currently 120 km off the coast of Greenland. He is breaching a court injunction against his organisation imposed by a Dutch court a week ago at the request of Cairn Energy, the company operating the oil platform. The court order, sought by the company a week ago after 20 Greenpeace activists were arrested for stopping the rig operating, means a 50,000 Euros a day fine and the risk of jail for the Greenpeace chief.

Date

June 17, 2011 | 1:02 pm

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Permafrost “tipping point” in less than 20 years?

I have been concerned about the effect of melting permafrost on the climate for quite some time, not least in the wake of encounters with scientists working in Greenland (this picture is Zackenberg, Greenland, 2009) and Alaska. Now research results published by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSDIC) in Boulder, Colorado are indicating that there could be a “tipping point” or a “starting point”, as Professor Kevin Schaefer prefers to call it, in less than 20 years. That means a point when the vast areas of permafrost in Alaska, Canada, Siberia and parts of Europe go from being a “carbon sink” to a carbon source. The study indicates as much as two-thirds of the carbon frozen into the permafrost could be released.
There’s more info on the NSIDC website and on the ips news website, based on an interview with Prof. Schaefer. Not happy reading, but without big reductions in emissions, it will probably be impossible to prevent this. On top of that come the methane emissions, not included in the study. Methane is much more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

Date

February 18, 2011 | 3:12 pm

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