Hundreds of Canada’s top arctic researchers are meeting this week in Vancouver to compare notes on climate change and the North.
The five day ArcticNet conference is the country’s largest gathering of arctic scientists. They’ll be looking at everything from melting sea ice, to changing animal migration patterns, to health and social issues.
Environment Canada researcher Ross Brown is one of the presenters at this week’s summit, and says the issues climate warming on the arctic are more pressing than ever.
He says that’s because the effects of climate change are magnified at the poles. Snow loss, for example, means less solar heat is reflected away from the earth, meaning more heat is trapped – with powerful effects.
“Combine them all together, you get almost double warming compared to the rest of the world.”
And he says those changes are having a visible impact in the North.
“We’re looking at 10 degrees warming winter temperatures, we’re looking at a month less sea ice, we’re looking at a month less snow cover. And huge cumulative effects.”
— Martin Fortier (@martin_fortier) December 7, 2015
But Brown says while the changes might be happening in the arctic, they’re having an effect elsewhere. He says last year’s brutal winter in Eastern North America was a product of imbalances in the Arctic, which twisted global climate patterns.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Brown says he sees hope in the ArcticNet meetings, which have been drawing big crowds of young scientific minds – all with an eye to the future.