By Tim Radford / <a href="climatenewsnetwork.net/fast-arctic-melt-could-cost-70-trillion/">Climate News Network</a>
Source: Read full article at Truthdig
The northern reaches of the planet are undergoing very rapid change: the fast Arctic melt means the region is warming at twice the speed of the planetary average.
The loss of sea ice and land snow could tip the planet into a new and unprecedented cycle of climatic change and add yet another $70 trillion (£54 tn) to the estimated economic cost of global warming.
In yet another sombre statement of the challenge presented by climate change, driven by ever-increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from the fossil fuels that power the global economy, British, European and US researchers took a look at two manifestations of warming.
One is the growing levels of ancient carbon now being released into the atmosphere as the Arctic permafrost begins to melt. The other is the reduced reflection of solar radiation back into space as what had once been an expanse of snow and ice melts, to expose ever greater areas of light-absorbing blue sea, dark rock and scrubby tundra.
The concern is with what the scientists like to call “non-linear transitions”. The fear is not that global warming will simply get more pronounced as more snow and ice…