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November 11, 2004

Four years of studies in 140 pages

BY: Gwen

It has been announced everywhere and here it is: the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, the new report on climate change. And what a report! I am actually reading it. I highly recommend it; and please send a copy to those who do not believe…

The Arctic Council called for this assessment, and it is the work of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, along with the International Arctic Science Committee. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment is divided into ten “key findings”, and is easy to read as well as understand. These keys make for a good summary:

  1. Arctic climate is now warming rapidly and much larger changes are projected.
  2. Arctic warming and its consequences have worldwide implications.
  3. Arctic vegetation zones are very likely to shift, causing wide-ranging impacts.
  4. Animal species’ diversity, ranges, and distribution will change.
  5. Many coastal communities and facilities face increasing exposure to storms.
  6. Reduced sea ice is very likely to increase marine transport and access to resources.
  7. Thawing ground will disrupt transportation, buildings, and other infrastructure.
  8. Indigenous communities are facing major economic and cultural impacts.
  9. Elevated ultraviolet radiation levels will affect people, plants, and animals.
  10. Multiple influences interact to cause impacts to people and ecosystems.

If you want to know more about the marine environment, you want to read carefully key finding #4.The marine environment, the marine fisheries and the aquaculture in the region are dissected.

I will end with the beginning of their conclusion:

As the scientific results presented in this assessment clearly illustrate, climate change presents a major and growing challenge to the Arctic and the world as a whole. While the concerns this generates are important now, their implications are of even greater importance for the future generations that will inherit the legacy of the current actions or inaction. Strong near-term action to reduce emissions is required in order to alter the future path of human-induced warming. Action is also needed to begin to adapt to the warming that is already occurring and will continue. The findings of this first Arctic Climate Impact Assessment provide a scientific basis upon which decision makers can consider, craft and implement appropriate actions to respond to this important and far-reaching challenge.