What is causing Arctic warming?

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What is causing Arctic warming?

  • Recent study by Finnish Meteorological Institute concluded that the Arctic is heating four times faster than the rest of the planet.

Key Highlights of the Study:

  • Warming is more concentrated in the Eurasian part of the Arctic
  • Barents Sea north of Russia and Norway is warming at an alarming rate — seven times faster than the global average.

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Reasons for Arctic Amplification

  • Reducing Ice Albedo: Melting ice sheet reduce solar reflection and increase absorption.
  • Reducing Lapse rate: Ice albedo feedback and the lapse rate feedback are responsible for 40% and 15% of polar amplification respectively.

Consequences of Arctic warming

Melting Ice Sheets and Rising Sea LevelRapidly melting Greenland ice sheet (second largest after Antarctica) was the single biggest cause for rise in the sea level, about 1.5 metres, in 2019. If it melts completely, sea level would rise by 7 metres, and subsume island countries and major coastal cities.
Biodiversity Loss in the ArcticWarming with ocean acidification, changing salinity, result in loss of marine biodiversity of the region. Also causing widespread starvation and death among the Arctic fauna.
Changing Rainfall patternIncreased incidences of rainfall in the region due to increased warming,
Releasing Green House GasesThawing of Perfrost in the region resulting in release of CO2 and Methane.
Rise in Disease OutbreaksThawing may also release the long dormant bacteria and viruses that were trapped in the permafrost

Impact on India

  • Increase in extreme weather events due to change in atmospheric circulations
  • Impacts Indian monsoon system which in turn influences India’s food and water security.
  • Rising Sea Level: State of Global Climate in 2021, sea level along the Indian coast is rising faster than the global average rate.


  • Deployed in 2014
  • India’s first moored underwater observatory in the Kongsfjorden fjord, Svalbard,
  • Objective: to monitor the impact of the changes in the Arctic Ocean on the tropical processes such as the monsoons.