Spitsbergen. Photo: ANP / Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP
The Arctic is warming faster than other parts of the Earth and this has a significant impact on the climate crisis, researchers from University College London (UCL) have calculated. If the Arctic did not warm up faster, it would take eight years longer for the Earth to be 2 degrees warmer than before the industrial age.
If nothing changes, the world could be 1.5 degrees warmer than before by 2031. The researchers assume that in 2051 the Earth may be 2 degrees warmer than before the industrial revolution, after which more and more greenhouse gases will be released. They used climate models to try to find out what the situation would have been if the North Pole was not as warm as it is now.
In that hypothetical world, it will take five years longer for the Earth to become 1.5 degrees warmer, and eight years longer for the 2 degree limit to be reached. World leaders agreed in Paris in 2015 that the Earth must not cross this border. Preferably, warming remains below 1.5 degrees. Climate scientists worldwide agree that climate change could otherwise lead to major disasters and have irreversible consequences.
For example, a global warming of 2 degrees can lead to an average temperature of 4 degrees higher at the North Pole. This has “profound consequences” for ecosystems and people who live there, according to UCL researcher Alistair Duffey.
The accelerated warming of the Arctic also causes major uncertainties in climate models, the researchers say. They mainly believe that more research is needed and that the temperature at the North Pole must be monitored even better.
Researcher Robbie Mallett says climate change in the Arctic is often ignored because most of the region falls outside national government boundaries. “Our research shows that the Arctic has an impact on the Paris Climate Agreement, and hopefully draws attention so that people see that the climate crisis is already happening in the region.”
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