Publication Date November 29, 2016

Arctic ice melt poses a risk of uncontrollable climate change, scientists say


A new report warns that current levels of Arctic ice melting could trigger key "tipping points" leading to catastrophic and uncontrollable climate change. If these tipping points are reached, the effects would become their own drivers of global warming, regardless of human attempts to reduce carbon emissions.


Scientists have expressed shock at the huge increases in temperature currently being recorded in the Arctic. Temperatures for November would normally be around -13 degrees Fahrenheit (-25 Celsius). Instead, this month they have been about 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees C). In addition, sea ice coverage is down 30 percent from levels 25 years ago, and is at the lowest levels ever recorded for this time of year.

“That’s not a minor fluctuation,” says Harvey. “That is what scientists call way-off-the-charts. We need to understand that the problem is growing ever more urgent."