Sketch for an Arctic Council project on the impacts of reduction in sea ice, a changing Greenland ice sheet and varying snow cover and permafrost conditions. Climate Change and the Crysosphere.

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"The last 5-6 years, the rate of loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has increased considerably. If this accelerated loss of sea ice continues, the Arctic Ocean could be icefree during summer earlier than projected in the ACIA report. The local and regional impacts of reduced sea ice could consequently be more imminent than previously thought. This situation makes the need for more detailed and thorough knowledge about the impacts, and more accurate projections about the future sea ice extent, more urgent. Further, IPCC (AR4) points to a possible thinning of the Greenland ice sheet as one of the major unknowns in the Arctic climate system and with severe global consequences (i.e., rising sea level). Also, changing in precipitation, snow cover conditions and a thawing of the permafrost will affect the hydrological situation and thereby have widespread consequences. For example, this will have an affect on vegetation, the food availability for animals as well as and altering the runoff from large Arctic rivers. Thawing permafrost causes release of the greenhouse gas methane as well as impacts on infrastructures previously built on more stable permafrost conditions." /.../