Consultation response: Royal Society submission to the Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into the Changing Arctic

25 May 2018

The Royal Society has submitted evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into the Changing Arctic. 

Our submission highlights that significant environmental changes are taking place in the Arctic:

  • The Greenland ice sheet has been losing about 270 billion tons of ice every year since the early 2000s, and as a result now contributes to around 25% of global mean sea level rise
  • Most researchers expect that, due to climate change, the Arctic will become largely free of sea ice during the summer months sometime between 2030 and 2070, with important impacts on regional lifestyles and habitats, and on global environmental processes
  • All of these factors will result in changes to important feedback loops, meaning that climate change will continue in the region and at an accelerated rate

The Royal Society is working with the other G7 scientific academies to set out a scientific vision of broad international collaboration to address the lack of scientific understanding of the Arctic marine environment. This is important because changes to the Arctic Ocean have complex and wide reaching biophysical implications for local and global environmental processes.

The UK is a leading player in Arctic research, but UK research is not produced in isolation. The UK government must seek the best outcome for UK research and innovation as the UK leaves the EU, and secure the UK’s ongoing role as an international scientific collaborator that is generous with our expertise to address global challenges that affect us all.