Solutions to Global Warming for the Polar Regions
Progress at the international level toward a binding agreement to reduce global warming emissions is critical to ensuring the future stability of the polar regions.
The Arctic (North Pole) has shown the most rapid rate of warming, with dramatic effects such as shrinking of this region's glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, and permafrost. The loss of permafrost is of particular concern—when permafrost melts, it releases carbon stored in the soils, and when boreal forests and peat bogs burn, they release carbon stored in the trees and peat. Unfortunately, all of these impacts are due to the combined effect of global warming emissions from other regions. In the Antarctic (South Pole), rapid change is evident on the Antarctic Peninsula—southeast of Argentina and Chile.
Changes at the poles have both local and global implications. The retreat of glaciers and shrinking of the Greenland ice sheet in the Arctic, for example, is predicted to cause significant sea-level rise, changes in the salinity of our oceans, and altered feedback loops that will make the Arctic warm up even faster. Organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Arctic Science Committee play a critical role in advancing the science related to polar areas.