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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Abrupt climate change in the Arctic," by Carlos M. Duarte, Timothy M. Lenton, Peter Wadhams & Paul Wassmann, Nature Climate Change 2 (2012); doi: 10.1038/nclimate1386

Nature Climate Change, 2 (2012) 60-62; doi: 10.1038/nclimate1386

Abrupt climate change in the Arctic

Carlos M. Duarte, Timothy M. Lenton, Peter Wadhams and Paul Wassmann


In 1992, the United Nations established the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with the aim of “preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with Earth's climate system.” Two decades later we are confronted with arguably the first signs of dangerous climate change in the Arctic region. Dangerous climate change was defined implicitly by the UNFCCC as that precluding ecosystem adaption, jeopardizing food production or preventing sustainable development. In the Arctic, the rate of climate change is now faster than ecosystems can adapt to naturally1, and Inuit communities are experiencing compromised food security and health, and threats to traditional cultural activities2. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lists five main concerns related to dangerous climate change, all of which are now being experienced in the Arctic (Table 1).


  1. Global Change Research Department, IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados, Miquel Marqués 21, 07190 Esporles, Mallorca, Spain

    • Carlos M. Duarte
  2. UWA Oceans Institute, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley 6009, Western Australia, Australia

    • Carlos M. Duarte
  3. College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Hatherly Laboratories, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter EX4 4PS, UK

    • Timothy M. Lenton
  4. Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, Wilberforce Road, Cambridge CB3 0WA, UK

    • Peter Wadhams
  5. Institute of Arctic and Marine Biology, Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economy, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway

    • Paul Wassmann
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