From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Permafrost, Arctic Heatwave
Mains level : Impact of climate changes
The Arctic Circle has recorded temperatures reaching over 38 degrees Celsius in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk, likely an all-time high. The temperatures seem to have been 18 degree Celsius higher than normal in June a/c to the BBC.
Try this question from CS Mains 2017:
Q.How does the Cryosphere affect global climate?
What is happening in the Arctic?
- Since the past month, the most above-average temperatures were recorded in Siberia, where they were about 10 degrees Celsius above normal.
- Siberia has been recording higher-than-average surface air temperatures since January.
Are Arctic heatwaves common?
- This is not the first time that rising temperatures in the Arctic have created alarm.
- The rising temperatures are attributed to large-scale wind patterns that blasted the Arctic with heat, the absence of sea ice, and human-induced climate change, among other reasons.
- There has been an increase of heatwave occurrences over the terrestrial Arctic. These frequent occurrences have already started to threaten local vegetation, ecology, human health and economy.
A cause of worry for all
- Warming in the Arctic is leading to the thawing of once permanently frozen permafrost below ground.
- This is alarming scientists because as permafrost thaws, carbon dioxide and methane previously locked up below ground is released.
- These greenhouse gases can cause further warming, and further thawing of the permafrost, in a vicious cycle known as positive feedback.
- The higher temperatures also cause land ice in the Arctic to melt at a faster rate, leading to greater run-off into the ocean where it contributes to sea-level rise.