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from the Guardian

Rapid Arctic thawing could be economic timebomb, scientists say

Rapid Arctic Thawing Could Be Economic Timebomb, Scientists Say: Methane Released by Thinning Permafrost May Trigger Catastrophic Climate Change and Cost the World $60 Trillion

from Reuters

Canada's Arctic glaciers headed for unstoppable thaw: study

Canadian glaciers that are the world's third biggest store of ice after Antarctica and Greenland seem headed for an irreversible melt that will push up sea levels, scientists said on Thursday.

THE world is on the cusp of a "tipping point" into dangerous climate change, according to new data gathered by scientists measuring methane leaking from the Arctic permafrost and a report presented to the United Nations on Tuesday. "The permafrost carbon feedback is irreversible on human time scales," says the report, Policy Implications of Warming Permafrost. "Overall, these observations indicate that large-scale thawing of permafrost may already have started."

As Arctic ice melts and polar bears see more of their habitat disappear, the animals could lose their famous white coats. Researchers have already witnessed polar bears hybridizing with their brown cousins, but note that it would take thousands of years from them to adapt themselves out of existence.

*The Arctic is changing fast. As temperatures rise and the tundra’s permafrost thaws, it releases carbon dioxide and methane – greenhouse gases – into the atmosphere. With the ice melting earlier in the spring and not freezing until much later in the autumn, the herders are being forced to change centuries-old migration patterns, as the reindeer find it difficult to walk over a snow-less tundra. Picture © Steve Morgan