Comprehensive Arctic assessment documents rapidly changing climate

The latest Snow, Water, Ice, and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) report reveals startling changes in the Arctic including northern Canada, Europe, Russia and Greenland. The Arctic was warmer from 2011 to 2015 than at any time since instrumental records began in around 1900, and has been warming more than twice as rapidly as the world as a whole for the past 50 years. Since at least 1972 the Arctic has been the dominant source of global sea-level rise. Seventy percent of the Arctic’s contribution to sea-level rise comes from Greenland, which on average lost 375 gigatons of ice per year. During the period 2004–2010, melting Greenland ice accounted for more than 1/3 of global sea-level rise, while thermal expansion caused by warming water contributed another 1/3 and contributions from Antarctica, other glaciers and changes in terrestrial storage contributed less than 1/3. The average number of days with sea ice cover in the Arctic declined at a rate of 10–20 days per decade over the period 1979–2013 and Sea ice thickness in the central Arctic Ocean declined by 65% over the period 1975–2012. Sea ice extent continues a long-term downward trend. A record low minimum sea ice extent occurred in 2012 and a record low maximum sea ice extent occurred in 2016. The second SWIPA assessment was conducted from 2010 to 2016 and published in 2017. More than 90 scientists contributed to the assessment, which was peer-reviewed by 28 experts. The first SWIPA assessment was conducted between 2008 and 2010, and was published in 2011. Second SWIPA Assessment