Warmest summers in over 100,000 years revealed by previously unseen Arctic landscapes.

As a geographer, one of the most intriguing questions for me in our rapidly changing climate has been - what new landscapes will climate change create? Research often focuses on shifting vegetation biomes, eroding coasts resulting from higher sea levels, geomorphic changes in the context of watershed adjustments, etc. However, there’s more to climate change than just the alteration of existing environments. Scientists have been observing declining glacial ice worldwide for several decades, but we haven’t known what their absence will reveal and what insights about past environments will be gleaned in the process. In other words, what did the land look like before the glaciers and what can we learn about our past, present, and future by studying the preserved remnants? Recent research by Simon Pendleton (University of Colorado Boulder - INSTAAR) on plants entombed in receding glaciers indicates that our current century’s summers are warmer than any in the last 115,000 years.

Read more of Simon’s findings here:
Rapidly receding Arctic Canada glaciers revealing landscapes continuously ice-covered for more than 40,000 years

Not just drunken trees - changes in human infrastructure from melting Arctic permafrost.

Many discussions of climate change impacts in the Arctic focus on the natural environment. Sea ice decline, shifts in animal migratory patterns, and the increasing number of snow free days are often among them. However, human endeavors are not exempt. Some of the infrastructure used to extract the fossil fuels responsible for climate change is now at risk itself due to melting permafrost. In a recent publication in Nature Communications, Jan Hjort et al. indicate that almost four million people and 70% of current infrastructure will likely be coping with the effects of near surface permafrost melt by the middle of this century. Besides the associated natural hazards and economic impacts, this will likely impact the aesthetic of the built environment in this region as well. From an artist’s perspective, the implication of this research is that historic buildings in older villages, which have been an important part of their local cultural landscape for many decades, are at risk of being damaged or destroyed.

Read the entire article here:
Degrading permafrost puts Arctic infrastructure at risk by mid-century