The Arctic is a key part of the global climate system because the net positive energy input to the tropics must ultimately be resolved through substantial energy losses in high-latitude regions. The Arctic influences the global climate system through both positive and negative feedbacks that involve physical, ecological, and human systems of the Arctic. The balance of evidence suggests that positive feedbacks to global warming will likely dominate in the Arctic during the next 50 to 100 years. However, the negative feedbacks associated with changing the freshwater balance of the Arctic Ocean might abruptly launch the planet into another glacial period on longer timescales. In light of uncertainties and the vulnerabilities of the climate system to responses in the Arctic, it is important that we improve our understanding of how integrated regional changes in the Arctic will likely influence the evolution of the global climate system. Copyright ?? 2006 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.
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Integrated regional changes in arctic climate feedbacks: Implications for the global climate system