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Lecture 52

ENV100Y5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 52: Positive Feedback, Arctic Ocean, Permafrost

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Monika Havelka

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Climate Change in the Arctic
-The South Pole is surrounded by the ocean, whereas the Arctic is different, as it is surrounded
by land
-The Arctic is of special importance to the world biologically, ecologically, climatically and
-The Arctic is home to plants, animals and people that survive in some of the most extreme
conditions on the planet
-There’s diversity and variety in the Arctic, especially of birds during the summer
-There are 8 nations represented in the Arctic and dozen of ethnic groups; indigenous make about
10% of the Arctic population
-The economy of the Arctic is based on resources
-The Arctic climate is warming faster than the rest of the globe; these changes are going to
accelerate and continue on to the future
-We are noticing the effects of climate change at lower latitudes, because there’s a lot of people
living there and they mostly live near coastal ares
-The temperatures are up to 12 degrees warmer than they should be; this is significant
-The Arctic Amplification; the globe is warming faster in the Arctic than it is at lower attitudes
(i.e: Antarctic)
-Positive feedback is problematic in the Arctic; with temperature, sea ice, etc — as warming
temperatures melt permafrost, release massive amounts of carbon
-We expect that precipitations worldwide is going to increase, although some places might be
drier whereas others may be wetter
We expect the Arctic to get wetter over time however
The Arctic is a ring of land around the ocean; but it’s a platform used for people to do the
activities they depend on (i.e: travel, hunting, etc)
The Arctic Sea Ice shrinks during the summer months
When you melt sea ice, you raise sea level; since ice is less dense than seawater, ocean
volume increases when floating ice melts
-Responses of organisms to climate change; move, adapt, extinction (locally)
-Polar bears sculpt a seal and just eat the fat; so Arctic foxes eat the actually meat/carcass
-The Caribou travels hundreds of kilometres to go breed; but these routes are being altered due to
climate change
-Southern species (robins, farnswallows, salmon) don’t normally exist in the Arctic
-Polar bear liver is treated like toxic waste
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