The impact of climate change on polar regions

Dr. MacDonald talked about this dynamic environment in the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Pacific Currents Spring 2011 magazine.

These unique ecosystems, with plants and animals found nowhere else, are falling victim to some of the earliest and most severe impacts of climate change. In some cases these changes are creating feedback loops that are intensifying climate change in the polar regions and around the globe.

Dr. MacDonald stated, "In terms of temperature, it tends to react faster and more strongly to changes in climate—and we are seeing that now. As we warm the Arctic, the soils will warm, and the carbon which they’ve stored for thousands of years will be released into the atmosphere, and that will then increase the greenhouse gas effect."

He continued, "It’s still an environment with a lot of mysteries. It’s vast and sparsely populated, and it’s a tough environment to work in. It’s also having some of the most amplified changes in climate, and it makes us realize how much we have yet to learn about our planet."

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