Scientists warn of a new polar climate regime

The Arctic's sea of slush

Location: Greenland

This is the Spalte Glacier

Courtesy: EU Copernicus and GEUS

It had been cracking for several years

before a 44 sq mile chunk broke off

on August 27

(SOUNDBITE) (English) POLAR ADVISOR FOR GREENPEACE NORDIC, DR LAURA MELLER, SAYING:

"The new research is yet another important piece of evidence showing that it's really time we stop hitting the snooze button and wake up to the climate emergency. We need to curb climate emissions right now immediately and we need to create a network of ocean sanctuaries covering at least a third of the blue planet if we are to take the climate crisis seriously."

Paul Ruzcki has steered Arctic ships

past icebergs since 1996

He's seen big changes in the region

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ICE PILOT, PAUL RUZYCKI, SAYING:

"I think there would be a lot more thicker ice or older ice, and not so broken up as you can see now we're moving through the ice very easily with the ship here I would say it's 2/10th of ice coverage on the sea water here and a lot of it's old ice that's been breaking off the glaciers that are breaking up, and breaking off the ice edge, I'd say the permanent ice edge that's getting smaller and smaller every year."

Scientists measure 3 key variables

//sea ice, temperatures and rainfall//

All are now at unprecedented levels

meaning the Arctic's future is a mystery

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CLIMATE SCIENTIST, LAURA LANDRUM, SAYING:

"The climate in the Arctic is changing dramatically and rapidly, and it's changing so fast that it's transitioning to a new climate where the new climate can't be predicted by the recent past. In other words, the Arctic has warmed so significantly that its year-to-year variability is moving outside the bounds of past fluctuations, signaling that it's transitioning to a new climate."

(SOUNDBITE) (English) POLAR ADVISOR FOR GREENPEACE NORDIC, DR LAURA MELLER, SAYING:"The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is here on the very edge of the Arctic sea ice to document the sea ice minimum that is said to be a near record low this year. We want to research the life that is hidden under the ocean surface to understand better what is there to protect and we want to make sure that world leaders understand the urgency of the climate crisis and they understand the role of healthy oceans in tackling the climate crisis."

Video Transcript

[NO SPEECH]

- Look at that bird.

LAURA MELLER: The new research is yet another piece-- important piece of evidence showing that it's really time we stop hitting the snooze button and wake up to the climate emergency. We need to curb climate emissions right now, immediately. And we need to create a network of ocean sanctuaries covering at least a third of-- of the blue planet if we are to take climate crisis seriously.

- But then the--

- [INAUDIBLE]

- [INAUDIBLE]

PAUL RUZYCKI: I think there would be a lot more I'll say thicker ice or older ice and not so broken up. As you can see now, we're moving through the ice very easily with the ship here. It's I would say 2/10 of ice coverage on the sea water here.

And a lot of it's old ice that's been breaking off the glaciers that are breaking up and breaking off the ice edge. I'll say like the permanent ice edge that exists. It's getting smaller and smaller every year.

- There is kind of-- there is a piece of ice that is--

LAURA LANDRUM: The climate in the arctic is changing dramatically and rapidly. And it's changing so fast that it's transitioning to a new climate where the new climate can't be predicted by the recent past. In other words, the arctic has warmed so significantly that its year-to-year variability is moving outside the bounds of past fluctuations, signaling that it's transitioning to a new climate.

- Do we have snow shovels and stuff on standby?

LAURA MELLER: The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is here, here on the-- on the very edge of the Arctic sea ice to document the sea ice minimum that is said to be a near record low this year. We want to research the life that is hidden under the-- under the ocean surface to understand better what is there to protect. And we want to make sure that world leaders understand the urgency of the climate crisis, and they understand the role of healthy oceans in tackling the climate crisis.