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The Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) Assessment

The Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) Assessment was formally delivered by AMAP to the 7th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Nuuk on 12 May 2011.

SWIPA key findings are:

  1. The past six years (2005-2010) have been the warmest period ever recorded in the Arctic. Higher surface air temperatures are driving changes in the cryosphere.
  2. There is evidence that two components of the Arctic cryosphere - snow and sea ice - are interacting with the climate system to accelerate warming.
  3. The extent and duration of snow cover and sea ice have decreased across the Arctic. Temperatures in the permafrost have risen by up to 2 degrees Celcius. The Southern limit of permafrost has moved northward in Russia and Canada.
  4. The largest and most permanent bodies of ice in the Arctic - multiyear sea ice, mountain glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet - have all been declining faster since 2000 than they did in the previous decade.
  5. Model projections reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 underestimated the rates of change now observed in sea ice.

Read all 15 key findings in the executive summary, download report, videos and photographs: