This is Section 18.6 of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. Lead Author: Gunter Weller; Contributing Authors: Elizabeth Bush,Terry V. Callaghan, Robert Corell, Shari Fox, Christopher Furgal, Alf Håkon Hoel, Henry Huntington, Erland Källén, Vladimir M. Kattsov, David R. Klein, Harald Loeng, Marybeth Long Martello, Michael MacCracken, Mark Nuttall,Terry D. Prowse, Lars-Otto Reiersen, James D. Reist, Aapo Tanskanen, John E.Walsh, Betsy Weatherhead, Frederick J.Wrona
With its almost continuous circle of land surrounding an ocean, which has a decadal circulation, the Arctic is a globally unique system and it is no accident that the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment is the first comprehensive regional assessment conducted to date. The ACIA is an authoritative synthesis of the consequences of changes in climate and UV radiation in the Arctic, involving hundreds of arctic experts. The assessment addresses the large climatic change that is very likely to occur over the 21st century and it concludes that changes in climate and in ozone and UV radiation levels are likely to affect every aspect of life in the Arctic.
However, assessment of the projected impacts of changes in climate and UV radiation is a difficult and long-term undertaking and the conclusions presented here, while as complete as present information allows, are only a first step in what must be a continuing process. There are likely to be future surprises, such as relatively rapid shifts in the prevailing trends in climatic regimes and in the frequency and intensity of extreme events; such changes, while likely, are expected to remain very difficult to project with high confidence. In future years, however, as additional data are gathered, a better understanding of the complex processes, interactions, and feedbacks will develop, and as model simulations are refined, findings and projections will be made with increasing confidence. As understanding of the climate system and its interactions with ozone amounts steadily improves, it will be possible to increase the usefulness of projections of the likely impacts in the Arctic, allowing more specificity in planning how best to adapt and respond.
An especially important task for future impact assessments will be to conduct comprehensive vulnerability studies of arctic communities, in which impacts modu1020 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment lated by adaptive capacity are examined in the context of both environmental and societal changes. The latter include changes in resource exploitation, human population, global trade and economies, introduction of new species, contamination, and new technologies. Chapter 17 points the way in this direction. It will be important to consider the interplay between impacts due to climate change and these other drivers. It is possible that many of the adverse impacts of variability and change can be moderated or even offset by implementing strategies for coping and adaptation, for example via changes in public policy and new strategies in resource management.
The perspectives and concerns of local people will also be essential to consider more fully in future vulnerability analyses. To begin to address these policy-related issues, a separate process is ongoing to discuss mitigation and adaptation, as well as research, observation, and modeling needs, and communication and education issues pertaining to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.
Finally, it is important to re-emphasize that climate and UV radiation changes in the Arctic are likely to affect every aspect of human life in the region and the lives of many living outside the region.While more studies and a better understanding of the expected changes are important, action must begin to be taken to address current and anticipated changes before the scale of changes and impacts further reduces the options available for prevention, mitigation, and adaptation.
Chapter 18: Summary and Synthesis of the ACIA
18.2. A summary of ACIA conclusions
18.3. A synthesis of projected impacts in the four regions
18.4. Cross-cutting issues in the Arctic
18.5. Improving future assessments