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The Arctic: ‘first and worst’

The Story

The Arctic is getting warmer. Temperatures in the permafrost have risen two degrees since the 1940s, according to this 1989 CBC-TV clip. And although reporter Eve Savory is careful to say this isn't proof of the greenhouse effect, she does note that it's a worrying trend. Many scientists say global warming will affect the Arctic "first and worst," and believe a warmer Arctic could spell trouble for the whole planet. In this clip, experts explain why. 

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Oct. 12, 1989
Guests: Steve Blasco, Alan Judge, Barrie Maxwell, Max Melnick, Walter Nassichuk, Neil Trivett
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Eve Savory
Duration: 4:36

Did You know?

• Fifteen years after this clip aired, a highly publicized 2004 study showed that the Arctic was warming at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the world. The four-year study was conducted by an international team of 300 researchers. Findings included the fact that in Alaska, Western Canada, and Eastern Russia average winter temperatures rose by as much as 3 C to 4 C in the previous 50 years, and are projected to rise 4 C to 7 C over the next 100 years.

The warming of the Arctic could have numerous consequences, including:
• Melting ice will cause waters levels to rise, potentially flooding coastal cities.
• Arctic peoples' way of life may have to change drastically.
• Polar bears and other wildlife may become extinct.
• Weather patterns around the world could be affected by the change in Arctic landscape.
• The Northwest Passage could become accessible year-round, leading to increased shipping through those waterways.


Turning Up the Heat: Four Decades of Climate Change more