The Changing Climate of the Arctic
Keywords: Arctic climate change, marine science, sea ice, atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems
AbstractThe first and strongest signs of global-scale climate change exist in the high latitudes of the planet. Evidence is now accumulating that the Arctic is warming, and responses are being observed across physical, biological, and social systems. The impact of climate change on oceanographic, sea-ice, and atmospheric processes is demonstrated in observational studies that highlight changes in temperature and salinity, which influence global oceanic circulation, also known as thermohaline circulation, as well as a continued decline in sea-ice extent and thickness, which influences communication between oceanic and atmospheric processes. Perspectives from Inuvialuit community representatives who have witnessed the effects of climate change underline the rapidity with which such changes have occurred in the North. An analysis of potential future impacts of climate change on marine and terrestrial ecosystems underscores the need for the establishment of effective adaptation strategies in the Arctic. Initiatives that link scientific knowledge and research with traditional knowledge are recommended to aid Canada’s northern communities in developing such strategies.