Sydney: The first signs of dangerous climate change in the Arctic could spell dire consequences for the whole of humankind, scientists warn.
The Arctic has been warming at three times the global average and the loss of sea ice, which had melted faster in summer than predicted, was linked tentatively to recent extreme cold winters in Europe.
But there`s more to come and in a manner that has not been highlighted before.
University of Western Australia researchers say the Arctic region is fast approaching a series of imminent "tipping points" that could trigger an abrupt domino effect of large-scale climate change across the entire planet, the Swedish journal AMBIO and Nature Climate Change report.
"There is evidence that these forces are starting to be set in motion. This has major consequences for the future of humankind as climate change progresses," said Carlos Duarte, professor and director of the university`s Oceans Institute.
Researchers suggest that the loss of Arctic summer sea ice, most likely over the next four decades, if not before, was expected to have abrupt knock-on effects on cities including Beijing, Tokyo, London, Moscow, Berlin and New York, according to a varsity statement.
Duarte, winner of last year`s prestigious Prix d`Excellence awarded by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, said Arctic records showed unambiguously that sea ice volume had declined dramatically over the past two decades.