Climate change is happening faster and with more visible impacts in the Arctic than in most of the rest of the world. The Arctic is warming at a rate of almost twice the global average. Climate change in the Arctic is not just a local problem — what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. What is driving the Arctic warming, loss of sea ice, retreating glaciers and thawing permafrost? How will the Arctic warming affect climate and weather patterns over the United States and the rest of the globe? What are the economic and social implications of the Arctic climate change to the United States and other Arctic nations? How sensitive is the Arctic’s future to greenhouse gas emissions, both anthropogenic and natural?
Dr. John E. Walsh is the chief scientist and President’s Professor of Global Change at the International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He is also the co-director of the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy. His research has long focused on Arctic sea ice and snow cover, including their role in climate change. More recently, his research has addressed extreme weather and climate events in the Arctic and middle latitudes. Dr. Walsh has also contributed to a number of official reports, including the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the 2013 US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) National Climate Assessment (NCA), for which he was a Convening Lead Author in Climate Change Science.