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Key indicators of Arctic climate change: 1971–2017

Box, Jason E. ; Colgan, William T. ; Christensen, Torben LU ; Schmidt, Niels Martin ; Lund, Magnus ; Parmentier, Frans-Jan W. LU ; Brown, Ross ; Bhatt, Uma S. ; Euskirchen, Eugénie S. and Romanovsky, Vladimir E. , et al. (2019) In Environmental Research Letters 14(4).
Abstract
Key observational indicators of climate change in the Arctic, most spanning a 47 year period (1971–2017) demonstrate fundamental changes among nine key elements of the Arctic system. We find that, coherent with increasing air temperature, there is an intensification of the hydrological cycle, evident from increases in humidity, precipitation, river discharge, glacier equilibrium line altitude and land ice wastage. Downward trends continue in sea ice thickness (and extent) and spring snow cover extent and duration, while near-surface permafrost continues to warm. Several of the climate indicators exhibit a significant statistical correlation with air temperature or precipitation, reinforcing the notion that increasing air temperatures and... (More)
Key observational indicators of climate change in the Arctic, most spanning a 47 year period (1971–2017) demonstrate fundamental changes among nine key elements of the Arctic system. We find that, coherent with increasing air temperature, there is an intensification of the hydrological cycle, evident from increases in humidity, precipitation, river discharge, glacier equilibrium line altitude and land ice wastage. Downward trends continue in sea ice thickness (and extent) and spring snow cover extent and duration, while near-surface permafrost continues to warm. Several of the climate indicators exhibit a significant statistical correlation with air temperature or precipitation, reinforcing the notion that increasing air temperatures and precipitation are drivers of major changes in various components of the Arctic system. To progress beyond a presentation of the Arctic physical climate changes, we find a correspondence between air temperature and biophysical indicators such as tundra biomass and identify numerous biophysical disruptions with cascading effects throughout the trophic levels. These include: increased delivery of organic matter and nutrients to Arctic near‐coastal zones; condensed flowering and pollination plant species periods; timing mismatch between plant flowering and pollinators; increased plant vulnerability to insect disturbance; increased shrub biomass; increased ignition of wildfires; increased growing season CO2 uptake, with counterbalancing increases in shoulder season and winter CO2 emissions; increased carbon cycling, regulated by local hydrology and permafrost thaw; conversion between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems; and shifting animal distribution and demographics. The Arctic biophysical system is now clearly trending away from its 20th Century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic. The indicator time series of this study are freely downloadable at AMAP.no. (Less)
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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Arctic climate change, observational records, AMAP
in
Environmental Research Letters
volume
14
issue
4
article number
045010
publisher
IOP Publishing
external identifiers
  • scopus:85063958781
ISSN
1748-9326
DOI
10.1088/1748-9326/aafc1b
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
970ebc83-92c9-4a34-95a1-372afdbb0291
date added to LUP
2019-06-05 11:15:06
date last changed
2020-12-29 02:00:31
@article{970ebc83-92c9-4a34-95a1-372afdbb0291,
  abstract     = {Key observational indicators of climate change in the Arctic, most spanning a 47 year period (1971–2017) demonstrate fundamental changes among nine key elements of the Arctic system. We find that, coherent with increasing air temperature, there is an intensification of the hydrological cycle, evident from increases in humidity, precipitation, river discharge, glacier equilibrium line altitude and land ice wastage. Downward trends continue in sea ice thickness (and extent) and spring snow cover extent and duration, while near-surface permafrost continues to warm. Several of the climate indicators exhibit a significant statistical correlation with air temperature or precipitation, reinforcing the notion that increasing air temperatures and precipitation are drivers of major changes in various components of the Arctic system. To progress beyond a presentation of the Arctic physical climate changes, we find a correspondence between air temperature and biophysical indicators such as tundra biomass and identify numerous biophysical disruptions with cascading effects throughout the trophic levels. These include: increased delivery of organic matter and nutrients to Arctic near‐coastal zones; condensed flowering and pollination plant species periods; timing mismatch between plant flowering and pollinators; increased plant vulnerability to insect disturbance; increased shrub biomass; increased ignition of wildfires; increased growing season CO2 uptake, with counterbalancing increases in shoulder season and winter CO2 emissions; increased carbon cycling, regulated by local hydrology and permafrost thaw; conversion between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems; and shifting animal distribution and demographics. The Arctic biophysical system is now clearly trending away from its 20th Century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic. The indicator time series of this study are freely downloadable at AMAP.no.},
  author       = {Box, Jason E. and Colgan, William T. and Christensen, Torben and Schmidt, Niels Martin and Lund, Magnus and Parmentier, Frans-Jan W. and Brown, Ross and Bhatt, Uma S. and Euskirchen, Eugénie S. and Romanovsky, Vladimir E. and Walsh, John E. and Overland, James E. and Wang, Muyin and Corell, Robert and Meier, Walter N. and Wouters, Bert and Mernild, Sebastian H. and Mård, Johanna and Pawlak, Janet and Olsen, Morten Skovgaard},
  issn         = {1748-9326},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {04},
  number       = {4},
  publisher    = {IOP Publishing},
  series       = {Environmental Research Letters},
  title        = {Key indicators of Arctic climate change: 1971–2017},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/65532578/Box_2019_Environ._Res._Lett._14_045010.pdf},
  doi          = {10.1088/1748-9326/aafc1b},
  volume       = {14},
  year         = {2019},
}