Knowledge holes


  • Elaine Friebele


According to a new Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program report, our understanding of the Arctic and how changes to its pristine environment might alter global environments is quite meager. “This report reveals serious gaps in our present knowledge, which prevent us from making firm predictions on how the Arctic will respond to future changes,” said E.C. Weatherhead, a researcher at the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory in Boulder and author of the report's chapter on climate change, ozone, and UV radiation.

The Arctic climate can influence weather around the world, according to Weatherhead. The degree of glacial melting in the Arctic affects sea level and governs ocean circulation that transports colder water from the Arctic to lower latitudes. In addition to the long-term decline of ozone in the Arctic stratosphere, short-term episodes of ozone depletion have been observed.