New Report: Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) 2017

Professor and director at NERSC, Sebastian H. Mernild, has been a lead author and contributing author to a new SWIPA-report (chapter 6 and 10). This report presents the findings of the Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) 2017 assessment performed by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP).

Read the SWIPA-report here.

(Summary for Policy-makers report is reproduced in this report on pages vii to xiv).


Key findings:
- The Arctic’s climate is shifting to a new state
- Climate change in the Arctic has continued at a rapid pace
- Changes will continue through at least midcentury, due to warming already locked into the climate system
- Substantial cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions now can stabilize impacts after mid-century
- Adaptation policies can reduce vulnerabilities
- Effective mitigation and adaptation policies require a solid understanding of Arctic climate change


The decades ahead:
With the warming already committed in the climate system plus the additional warming expected from rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the Arctic will experience significant changes during this century even if greenhouse gas emissions are stabilized globally at a level lower than today’s.If emissions continue to increase, future changes in the Arctic would be even more substantial and long-lasting.


What are the implications?

Changes underway in the Arctic have wide-ranging consequences for Arctic ecosystems and people living and working in the Arctic. The Arctic also plays an important role in global climate and weather, sea-level rise, and world commerce, which means that impacts in the Arctic resonate far south of the Arctic Circle. A recent economic analysis of the global costs of Arctic change estimated the cumulative cost at USD $7–90 trillion over the period 2010–2100. The implications of most findings in SWIPA 2017 are not fundamentally different from those reported in 2011, but are supported by more evidence and in some cases warrant greater concern due to more significant impacts or new knowledge. A major new finding is that Arctic changes may influence weather far to the south.


The SWIPA 2017 assessment was conducted between 2010 and 2016 by an international group of over 90 scientists, experts and knowledgeable members of the Arctic indigenous communities. Lead authors were selected by an open nomination process coordinated by AMAP and several national and international organizations. A SWIPA team of coordinating lead authors for the eleven chapters was responsible for scientific oversight and coordination of all work related to the preparation of the assessment report.

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