As we’ve discussed in previous posts, melting of ice and an increasingly open Arctic during the summers months, is really important. On average, we’ll have rising average air temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere especially at high latitudes close to the Arctic coasts where significant open water prevails. This will be true even in the dead of winter. This is a long term trend, but one which will develop with significant ups and downs, so we can’t bet the farm on what will happen next year if it’s based just on what happened this year.
But it will on average get warmer as heat is being increasingly absorbed and moved through the Earth by turbulent seas and not easily predicted air circulation patterns. The Arctic will begin to act more and more like a heated bathtub.
These new patterns will increase and become more volatile as increased ice melts and warming in the Arctic and allows for both an earlier spring and an extended fall. Volcanic eruptions, particulates from coal plants and even from airplanes will tend to lower atmospheric temperatures until particulates dissipate. The energy output of the Sun also has its ups and downs occurring at intervals and over durations not easily predicted. All these factors will contribute and interact, but the net effect will be to warm the planet particularly in the northern latitudes.
Biologic species will expand all through the Northern Hemisphere. Total plant biomass is projected to double over the next 60-70 years. Species like polar bears, seals, and walrus who love the ice and will be impacted by disappearing ice flows are at risk. many fish who love cold water will either move north or go to lower depths where the water remains cold year round. 15-30% of the species associated with the ice may be lost. Insects, advancing southern competitors, pests, and disease bearing organisms will do well.
In the next several decades vast boreal forests developing in the high northern lattitudes in Canada and Russia may convert to a more open savanna. Total biomass will begin to ramp up. Longer, deeper penetration of the Arctic by the sun should increase algae photosynthesis and increasing primary productivity of Arctic marine foods. There should also be more invasion of of southern marine species by northern ones.
Agriculture to a degree will expand in the north, but it should be remembered that the north is still at low point of soil development since tit has until now remained frozen since the last ice age.