Climate change in the Arctic is occurring at a faster and more drastic rate than previously assumed, according to experts attending the AMAP conference in Copenhagen. The latest scientific data show that developments in the Arctic's climate are closely related to developments in the rest of the world.
"The order of the day in the Arctic right now is change. But we shouldn't expect that those changes will be linear in the sense of a little bit each day. We're going to see dramatic changes. If the ice in the Arctic melts it is going to lead to water level problems on a global scale that we all will feel the consequences of," says Associate Dean Katherine Richardson.
The Arctic Council's Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) and the universities of Aarhus and Copenhagen organised the Arctic conference, which featured about 400 scientists from 20 countries presenting their scientific data.
Those studies show a worrying state of affairs for the snow, water, ice and permafrost in the Arctic.
Changes in climate, due in part to rising temperatures, could wind up being a boon for shipping and open up new areas for mineral and oil exploration. But, climate change is also an enormous challenge, if not a direct threat, for people living in the arctic and troublesome for the rest of the world.
Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen, who was on hand for the final session of the conference on Friday, May 6, will now head to Nuuk, where she will meet with other foreign ministers from Arctic Council states. During the May 12 meeting in the Greenlandic capital, it is expected that attendees will discuss the scientific data presented during the AMAP meeting.
In addition to Denmark, other Arctic Council members include Canada, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US.
Explore further: Fast access to CryoSat's Arctic ice measurements now available