The Coolest place on Earth is the North Pole, where temperatures reach minus-30 degrees Celsius (minus-150 degrees Fahrenheit).
It’s the coolest place on earth, according to a study released this week by the National Science Foundation.
The research, published online Thursday in Nature Geoscience, suggests the polar regions are warming faster than anywhere else on Earth.
“If we’re talking about a trend, it’s accelerating,” said Matthew Boorstein, an oceanographer and professor of geology at Cornell University.
Boorsteins study found that the polar ice caps have shrunk in size and ice has formed around the ice caps.
The ice cap area around the poles has shrunk from about 4.3 million square kilometers (2.6 million square miles) in 2000 to about 1.6 billion square kilometers or less today.
The polar regions’ ice is melting faster than the rest of the world, said co-author Matthew D. Johnson, an assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia.
And this trend is likely accelerated by global warming, because the Arctic has been warming faster, he said.
“It’s a dramatic shift in the Arctic, with the polar cap shrinking, and that’s causing a lot of the ice to melt,” Johnson said.
The study, titled “Perceptions of the Coolest Places on Earth,” found that polar regions experienced the greatest changes in temperature from 2000 to 2012, but that these trends were fastest in the tropics, where most of the countries are located.
“That’s when we see the largest ice cover changes, so the troposphere is the coolest area,” Johnson explained.
“We also see the least changes in climate.”
The study’s findings have important implications for how people view the climate, Johnson said, since some people perceive polar regions to be cooler than other areas of the planet.
“When you look at how much of the surface area is covered by the ice, that’s where we’re going to see the most changes,” Johnson told CNN.
“But that’s not really true of the whole planet.”
Polar regions have also been shrinking at an unprecedented rate, according a study published last year in the journal Nature Geocenter.
That study found the polar area has been shrinking by more than a quarter since the mid-1980s.
That increase was particularly rapid in the North Atlantic, which has experienced a sharp increase in the amount of ice it has lost in recent years.
Johnson and his colleagues looked at more than 700 measurements of the Earth’s surface from the year 2000 to 2011 and found that Arctic sea ice had decreased by a fifth between 2000 and 2011.
The Antarctic also saw an increase in ice cover, with an estimated 50 million square kilometer (28 million square mile) of ice lost.
In total, Johnson found the number of ice-covered kilometers (kilometers) in the polar region had decreased from 1.9 million in 2000, to 1.2 million in 2011.
But that increase was slower than the Arctic and the Antarctic.
In the Atlantic Ocean, the rate of sea ice loss slowed down from 5.2 kilometers (3.8 miles) per year in 2000 down to 1 kilometers per year.
But the rate in the Southern Hemisphere was nearly twice as fast, from 2.3 kilometers per decade in 2000 up to 2.9 kilometers per century in 2011, Johnson told Science News.
“The Arctic and Antarctic are going to continue to lose ice, and there will be a lot more of it in the next couple of decades,” Johnson noted.
“What’s going to be happening in the world is that the amount that’s left will be declining, and it will take longer for the planet to get back to its pre-industrial level.”
The Arctic is home to more than 100 million people, but its population is declining as temperatures rise, according the United Nations.
“In the Arctic today, the average temperature is around minus-2.5 degrees Celsius,” Johnson says.
“And that’s been the case since the beginning of this century.”
But Johnson and others are concerned that the warming Arctic will impact the world’s food supply.
“At least 50% of the crops that we grow in the United States are grown in areas that are now experiencing extreme temperatures,” Johnson added.
“As the climate warms, those crops are going extinct.”
And that will have major implications for food security in the region, Johnson says, since climate change could have a dramatic impact on the food supply, causing food prices to rise.
“Climate change is already affecting our food supply,” Johnson continued.
“Our food supply has been changing for the past 10, 15, 20 years.
And we know that the price of food has gone up a lot because the climate is warming.”
Johnson says the study should serve as a warning to Americans, especially those living in the Northeast, where there are many crops that can be affected by warmer weather.
“I would suggest that the Northeast should be worried,” Johnson concluded.