Global context

The Arctic is not an isolated region, but an important part of the global system and connected to other areas on the planet. Some examples are: 

– Each year several hundreds of millions of birds and fish migrate to the Arctic and their success in the Arctic determines their success and their impacts at lower latitudes.

– Climate changes in Arctic regions are connected to changes on a global scale, for example to the climate in other areas or through ice melt in Arctic region affecting sea level world wide (climate and ocean system feedbacks).

– The Arctic areas are an important source/sink of CO2 and methane.

– Pollutants produced by human activity at lower latitudes accumulate rapidly in Arctic regions with complicated consequences.

– The retreat of ice and improved technological solutions have resulted in increased human activity in the Arctic and consequently greater potential human impact on the biology of the system. 

Arctic terrestrial fauna and flora presents a series of adaptations allowing them to take advantage of, and ultimately survive, the extreme conditions that can be found in this region. Species particularly adapted to cold habitats are particularly sensitive to warmer winter temperatures, and an increased frequency of extreme events such as freeze–thaw cycles and surface icing, changes in snow fall and snow lie and pollutant load. This means they are likely to be affected by global and local climate change. In the Arctic, an era of rapid and widespread environmental change, the need for targeted conservation strategies and carefully considered use of natural resources has never been more pressing (Greenslade 2008). This can only be acieved by collaboration between nations. 

 

Further reading: