What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic

New Research

Our novel research on the global economic impacts of Arctic warming continues to help shape global conversation on this topic.

Arctic Basecamp researcher, Dmitry Yumashev, has published research paper which is the first of its kind to directly link results from complex physical models with an assessment of economic impacts of climate change. Climate policy implications of nonlinear decline of Arctic land permafrost and other cryosphere elements, published in Nature Communications April 2019, shows that Carbon released into the atmosphere by the increasing loss of Arctic permafrost, combined with higher solar absorption by the Earth’s surface due to the melting of sea ice and land snow, will accelerate climate change – with the potential to increase the long-term economic impact of climate change by just under $70 trillion.

With previous estimates for Arctic feedbacks, the total cost of climate change associated with the 1.5°C and 2°C scenarios is virtually the same -approximately $600 trillion. In comparison, the estimated cost of business as usual is around $2000 trillion. Thus, the nonlinear Arctic feedbacks make the more ambitious 1.5°C target marginally more economically attractive.

This research received fantastic global coverage, including pieces in WEF Agenda, National Geographic, The Guardian, New York Times, Ria Novosti, The Times of India, The Sun, Daily Mail and Fox News. The paper received an attention score of 941 putting this research in the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric (see figure below); a site dedicated to tracking and analysing online activity around scholarly research outputs. 

Arctic Basecamp

We hope these assessments will provide a better understanding of the socio-economic risks from climate change under different scenarios and help guide policy makers towards prudent decisions on emissions reduction targets.

The authors of the study are Dmitry Yumashev, Gail Whiteman and Paul Young, of the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business and Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University; Chris Hope, of the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge; Kevin Schaefer, of the National Snow and Ice Date Centre at the University of Colorado (USA); Kathrin Riemann-Campe, of the Alfred Wegener Institute (Germany); Fernando Iglesias-Suarez, of the Institute of Physical Chemistry Rocasolano (Spain); Elchin Jafarov, of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA); Eleanor J. Burke, of the UK Met Office; and Yasin Elshorbany, of the University of South Florida (USA).

Full details of the paper are: Yumashev, D., Hope, C., Schaefer, K., Riemann-Campe, K., Iglesias-Suarez, F., Jafarov, E., Burke, E., Young, P., Elshorbany, Y. & Whiteman, G. (2019). Climate policy implications of nonlinear decline of Arctic land permafrost and other cryosphere elements. Nature Communications, 10(1), 1900.

This is an open access paper, and anyone can read it: