Rapid and “devastating” Arctic warming is now almost unstoppable, United Nations researchers warn in a major new report.
Unless humanity makes very rapid and deep pollution cuts, Arctic winter temperatures will rise 5.4° to 9.0°F (3° to 5°C) by 2050 — and will reach an astounding 9° to 16°F (5° to 8.8°C) by 2080 — according to a report by the U.N. Environment Program released Wednesday.
Even worse, the report, “Global Linkages: A graphic look at the changing Arctic,” warns that warming will in turn awaken a “sleeping giant” in the form of vast quantities of permafrost carbon. This carbon has been frozen in the permafrost for up to thousands of years, but as the atmosphere warms, the permafrost will thaw. This will release the trapped carbon, and trigger more planet-wide warming in a dangerous feedback loop.