Continued warming of the Arctic could lead to global weather changes and flooding that affects one-quarter of the world’s people, finds a new report by the global conservation organization WWF.The report was released in Geneva at the World Climate Conference-3, hosted by the World Meteorological Organization. Some 2,000 delegates are meeting to lay the groundwork for a global system of climate change forecasting.
Arctic air temperatures have risen by almost twice the global average over the past several decades, according to the peer-reviewed scientific report, which warns that further warming could release more greenhouse gases now trapped in the Arctic’s frozen soil.
“What this report says is that a warming Arctic is much more than a local problem, it’s a global problem,” said Martin Sommerkorn, senior climate change advisor with the WWF’s Arctic Programme. “Simply put, if we do not keep the Arctic cold enough, people across the world will suffer the effects.”
The combination of thawing Arctic sea ice and melting ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica is likely to raise global sea levels by about 1.2 meters (four feet) by 2100, more than previously thought, the report warns.