Not much snow, peaks of 19 degrees Celsius in Norway and even 28 degrees in France: official data confirms the anomalously high temperatures of this past winter.
How the Arctic is becoming greener
Thanks to satellite data systems NASA has been monitoring 1,000 hectares of land across Canada and Alaska. The tundra has already changed because of global warming.
NASA’s satellite pictures are astounding since they confirm what is happening in the Arctic. The images show an ever greener Earth: the tundra is giving way to another type of vegetation that changes season after season.
This was what NASA revealed after that it realised a very accurate and detailed map of the Arctic area, from Canada to Alaska, using a collection of over 87,000 pictures taken from 1984 to 2012. The study demonstrates that temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than elsewhere: this means that growing seasons become longer and plants have more time to grow and become thicker. This has an impact on the landscape, soil and water cycle.
The tundra is a region where the tree growth is hindered by too low average temperatures and too brief summers. But this biome is rapidly changing. “This work shows the climate impact on vegetation in the high latitudes”, Jeffrey Masek, one of the authors of the study and researcher at the Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center, commented. This translates in an ever greener Arctic.
Ice could disappear in the Arctic
The study carried out by NASA goes hand in hand with research conducted by the US National Snow & Ice Data Centre measuring the area covered by Arctic ice. The Arctic ice now covers little more than 11 million square metres, while the average coverage in the last 30 years was around 12.7 million square metres.
“My prediction remains that the Arctic ice may well disappear”, professor Petar Wadhams at Cambridge University told the Independent. “That is, it may have an area of less than one million square kilometres for September of this year”. This would be the first time in more than 100,000 years.
Once again the scientific community is crying for help as it reports what is happening and the potential consequences of ice melting. The balance reached in thousands of years is rapidly being upset.
Ocean warming has risen to record highs over the last five years: just in 2019 the heat released into the world’s oceans was equivalent to that of 5-6 atomic bombs per second. The culprit, no doubt, is climate change.
What did Greta Thunberg tell participants at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos? Once again, the Swedish activist underlined the total lack of concrete solutions to the climate crisis presented by leaders so far.
The list of human and animal victims of the Australia wildfires keeps growing – one species might already have gone extinct – as the smoke even reaches South America.
Kivalina is located on a small island once guarded by sea ice, which is now melting due to global warming. While the sea threatens to wipe the village off the face of the Earth, its inhabitants refuse to give up their lives and traditions.
Thanks to activists, the voice of the world’s peoples resounded through the COP25 like an alarm bell. Governments didn’t reach the results they demanded, but their cries and messages were stronger than ever, reaching even those who weren’t in Madrid.
Climate change poses a risk for millions. However, women are the most vulnerable to its negative consequences: a few simple considerations by the Italian Climate Network help us perceive the global implications of this.
The COP25 ended two days late and with very few steps ahead made. Climate negotiations in 2020 will be an uphill battle as political will clearly seems to be lacking, once again.
Living in the “climate moment”: a dialogue between Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben and Alexandria Villaseñor
What does it mean to live in the “climate moment”? How did we get here? Is it too late to change? Naomi Klein, Alexandria Villaseñor, Joëlle Zask and Bill McKibben discuss these vital questions at the Albertine Festival in New York City.