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We have already stepped on the minefield: Scientist on reversing global warming – Down To Earth Magazine

Arctic Sea ice retreated record fast in spring 2020; also, the summer sea ice was only half as large as decades ago

Melting sea ice. Photo: Rosendahl via Wikimedia Melting sea ice. Photo: Rosendahl via Wikimedia

Is global warming still reversible? No, thinks the scientist who led the world’s largest expedition to the Arctic.

Arctic Sea ice retreated record fast in spring 2020; also, the summer sea ice was only half as large as decades ago. These proved the world has crossed a tipping point, Markus Rex told news agency AFP.

Temperatures at the time of Rex’s expedition were 10 degrees higher than during the Fram expedition undertaken by Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen in the 1890s, according to AFP.

The expedition led by Rex had involved 300 scientists from 20 countries. It had spent almost 400 days in the Arctic and had cost $165 million. It had yielded 150 terabytes of data and over 1,000 ice samples. The scientists also collected water samples from beneath the ice to study plant plankton and bacteria. Data collected also included readings on the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice and ecosystems.

The 2015 Paris Agreement had urged countries to keep warming levels to 2 degrees Celsius below pre-industrial levels and preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius below them.

A report from the World Meteorological Organisations (WMO) in May this year had warned that there was a 40 per cent chance that global temperatures will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels in the next five years.

There was a 90 per cent likelihood of at least one year between 2021-2025 becoming the warmest on record, the report had said.

Reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including 2018’s Global Warming of 1.5°C and 2019’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climatesuggest that tipping points could be exceeded even between 1 and 2 °C of warming.

For a record of all the Conference of Parties held between 1995 and 2019, click here

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