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Rapid ice melt could permanently alter the Arctic ecosystem and trigger catastrophic events as far as the Indian Ocean if greenhouse gas emissions are left unchecked, according to a Stockholm Environment Institute Arctic Resilience Report.
Two scientists from the ICESCAPE mission study how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the ocean's chemistry and ecosystems. Kathryn Hansen / NASA
The five-year study identified 19 climate tipping points—which irreversibly alter ecosystems due to sudden or overwhelming change—that "can and have occurred" in the Arctic, including increased vegetation on the tundra that could cause more heat absorption, the collapse of important fisheries and higher methane release. "Human-driven climate change greatly increases the risk of Arctic regime shifts, so reducing global greenhouse gas emissions is crucial to reducing this risk," the report says.
In mid-November, temperatures in the Arctic region reached 36 F (20 C) above normal.
Responding to Arctic change: a selection of 25 case studies from across the Arctic were analyzed for this report. The cases illustrate both loss of resilience and resilience, including instances of transformational change. Hugo Ahlenius / Nordpil
For a deeper dive:
Commentary: Virginian-Pilot editorial
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
At EcoWatch, our team knows that changing personal habits and taking actions that contribute to a better planet is an ongoing journey. Earth Day, happening on April 22, is a great reminder for all of us to learn more about the environmental costs of our behaviors like food waste or fast fashion.
To offer readers some inspiration this Earth Day, our team rounded up their top picks for films to watch. So, sit back and take in one of these documentary films this Earth Day. Maybe it will spark a small change you can make in your own life.
On Friday, Seal Rescue Ireland released Sesame the seal into the ocean after five months of rehabilitation at the Seal Rescue Ireland facility. Watch the release on EcoWatch's Facebook.
By Jordan Davidson
Guinness is joining the fight against single use plastic. The brewer has seen enough hapless turtles and marine life suffering from the scourge of plastic.
People of all ages are spending more of their day looking at their phones, computers and television screens, but parents now have another reason for limiting how much screen time their children get — it could lead to behavioral problems.