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What Happens When Rain Falls in the Arctic Instead of Snow?

When rain falls in the Arctic, it disrupts the natural insulating effect of snow, accelerating ice melt and impacting local ecosystems. This phenomenon, driven by climate change, poses risks to wildlife and indigenous communities. The balance of our planet hinges on these cold regions. How might these changes affect global climates? Join us as we examine the cascading effects.

Scientists are predicting that rainfall will soon be more common than snowfall in the Arctic, and the repercussions will rain across the globe.

According to the latest figures, unless carbon emissions are taken more seriously, autumns in the Arctic will see more rain than snow by the year 2060, which is 30 years sooner than previously expected. That influx of rain would cause sea levels to rise significantly, affecting areas far from the cold north.

Scientists forecast that by 2060, more rain than snow will fall in the Arctic, decades earlier than expected.
Scientists forecast that by 2060, more rain than snow will fall in the Arctic, decades earlier than expected.

"Things that happen in the Arctic don’t specifically stay in the Arctic," said Michelle McCrystall, a climate scientist at the University of Manitoba. "The fact that there could be an increase in emissions from permafrost thaw or an increase in global sea level rise, it is a global problem, and it needs a global answer."

The additional rain translates to additional ice, which threatens the animals living in the Arctic. Snow would remain more common than rain if global warming can be capped at 1.5 degrees C, but current projections show an increase closer to 2.7 degrees C.

The amazing Arctic:

  • The Arctic is made up of parts of Greenland, the United States, Canada, Russia, Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden.

  • Approximately 4 million people live in the Arctic region, including the native Inuit.

  • The USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, sailed under the North Pole in 1958.

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    • Scientists forecast that by 2060, more rain than snow will fall in the Arctic, decades earlier than expected.
      By: Felton Davis
      Scientists forecast that by 2060, more rain than snow will fall in the Arctic, decades earlier than expected.