chapter  17
10 Pages

Last Chance to See? Future Issues for Polar Tourism and Change –


Introduction The question ‘Isn’t the weather strange lately?’ seems to be increasingly asked in these days of conjecture about the effects of climate change. Although individual weather events cannot be specifi cally connected to climate change they do act as indicators of a potential future for high-latitude climates as well as being potential evidence for some of the greater variability of weather events that has been forecast as part of climate change. Since the commencement of the International Polar Year (IPY) in 2007 to just prior to the Copenhagen climate conference in December 2009 a number of notable anomalies have occurred:

snow cover extent on record • Arctic sea ice (September 2007): all-time lowest extent on record in

September; surpassed previous record set in 2005 by 23% • Arctic sea ice (September 2009): second lowest extent on record behind

September 2007 • Fenno-Scandinavia (2008): warmest winter ever recorded in most parts of

Norway, Sweden and Finland • Eurasian snow cover extent (January 2008): largest January extent on record

and smallest extent during March, April, and boreal spring • Antarctic ozone hole (2008): a maximum 27.2 million km² in September; fi fth largest recorded (McMullen and Jabbour, 2009).