The Arctic region encompasses a large, mostly frozen ocean surrounded by land, and is home to almost 4 million people.
The Arctic is expected to experience the greatest rates of warming compared with other world regions. Its average temperatures have already risen at almost twice the rate as temperatures in the rest of the world over the past few decades. One of its major issues, polar region melting, results from ongoing increases of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, reduction in sea ice (i.e. melting) is likely to have devastating consequences for animals and humans, including accelerated extinction; destabilization of existing buildings, roads, pipelines, airports and industrial facilities; and many others.
Climate change is taking place within the context of many other ongoing changes, including observed increases in chemical contaminants entering the Arctic from other regions, overfishing, land use changes that result in habitat destruction and fragmentation, rapid growth in the human population, and cultural, governance and economic changes. (Source: EPA / Photo: wili_hybrid/Flickr)