Fourth National Climate Assessment

NCA4 Web Site

Rapid Arctic Change

In the Arctic, annual average temperatures have increased more than twice as fast as the global average, accompanied by thawing permafrost and loss of sea ice and glacier mass. Arctic-wide glacial and sea ice loss is expected to continue; by mid-century, it is very likely that the Arctic will be nearly free of sea ice in late summer. Permafrost is expected to continue to thaw over the coming century as well, and the carbon dioxide and methane released from thawing permafrost has the potential to amplify human-induced warming, possibly significantly.


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