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Science Daily has published the Arctic is warming much more rapidly than previously known, at nearly twice the rate as the rest of the globe, and increasing greenhouse gases from human activities are projected to make it warmer still, according to the findings of a 300-strong team of international scientists...

At the rate global warming is going, the Arctic is predicted to lose half of its summer ice as the century closes when temperature is projected to rise by another 4 to 7 degrees Celsius by year 2100. This melting is to include a sizeable section of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Major global impacts will be continued rise in sea-level and intensifying global warming, as per the final report of the ACIA or the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. The exercise was ordered by the Arctic Council, an executive body composed of the 8 eArctic nations, 6 indigenous POs or Peoples Organizations, and the IASC or the International Arctic Science Committee. The latter is a worldwide organization appointed by 18 national science institutes.

The assessment's report was first broadcast in detail at a symposium in Reykjavik, Iceland in November 9 to 12, 2004. ACIA's data were based on an average estimate of emissions of CO2 and other gases that aggravate the greenhouse effect in the years to come. The report also integrates results from 5 major climate simulations done by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC.

As Robert Corell, ACIA Chair mused, people in the Arctic are feelng the impacts of global warming as the Arctic is now seeing the fastest and extremely serious climate change. These are predicted to increase even more as the years roll by.

Here are some of the findings:

In the past 50 years, winter temperatures in Alaska, Western Canada and Eastern Russia have registered an increase of as much as 3 to 4 degrees Celsius. And in the next century, temperatures are projected to increase by 47 degrees Celsius or 7 13 degrees Fahrenheit.

As mentioned earlier, summer sea ice in the Arctic is seen to drop by 50% at the turn of the century. There is even a prediction of its almost complete disappearance which can kill ice living seals. This will prove too much for the indigenous peoples of the region. who depend on these animals for food.

Global warming increases melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, increasing the rates at which sea levels rise. In the long run, Greenland will hold enough melted ice that sea level could rise to as much as 7 meters or 23 feet. The coastal towns around the Arctic now face the risk of erosion and flooding because of this.

The possibility of the extinction of some species of seals and polar bears is very evident.

Health and food security of the natives are also areas that can be affected. This poses a challenge on the other tribe's culture.

The Assessment has reported that many of the projected physical, ecological, social and economic changes have already commenced. A major goal of the ACIA is to determine variability of ultra violet radiation and its impact on society.

For the study, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, hosted the ACIA Secretariat at was hosted at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Funding for the Secretariat was provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


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