Shifts in sea ice cover could affect oceanic emissions of dimethylsulphide (DMS)—a climate-relevant trace gas generated by ice algae and phytoplankton that acts as a nucleus for cloud droplet formation. Observations and model results suggest that the emission of DMS will increase in the Arctic as the seasonal sea ice cover recedes. If it escapes to the atmosphere, it could augment cloud formation and cool the Arctic climate (Levasseur, 2013).

A Greenland “Grand Canyon” was discovered. It is 50 percent longer than Arizona’s 277-mile Grand Canyon, but not as deep—ranging from 650 feet to about 2,600 feet (200 to 800 meters) (Bamber et al., 2013).

Analysis suggests wild food consumption, as practiced in two isolated First Nations communities of northwestern Ontario, can increase blood levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which provide a number of important metabolic benefits that could allow the prevention/treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, which has risen dramatically in northern communities (Seabert et al., 2013).

The first meeting of the Arctic Circle, a group established to facilitate dialogue and build relationships among businesses and those in the Arctic to address rapid changes in the Arctic, takes place in Iceland.a

The genome of a young boy buried at Mal’ta near Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia some 24,000 years ago shows that during the last Ice Age, people from Europe had reached farther east across Eurasia than previously supposed (Wade, 2013).

Crusts deposited on underwater rocks by coralline algae record changes in sea ice over the past 650 years. They show that sea ice decline since 1850 is unprecedented in the record (Halfar et al., 2013).

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a See http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674arctic_circle_conference_attracts_hundreds_to_iceland/.

 

the identified categories of knowledge both underscore what is important and point toward what is truly emerging, as well as what will be needed to support research in these emerging areas. Whereas previous reports focused on what we know we need to know, this report also considers what we may not yet recognize as unknown.

We know the Arctic system is warming rapidly (see Figure 2.1). We also know that sea ice is dramatically thinner and less extensive and that snow on Arctic land areas is disappearing ever earlier in summer. We know Arctic albedo is decreasing, as it shifts from the high values of ice and snow to the darker grays, greens, browns, blacks, and blues of soil, vegetation, and water. We know Arctic communities are feeling the stress of environmental and social change in all facets of their lives. We also know we have not sufficiently sampled much of the Arctic during the long winter darkness. The observed Arctic impacts attributed to climate change are summarized in Table 2.1.



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