The long-term effects of climate change are still unclear, but, as one scientist explained on Thursday, there is already "pretty scary" evidence that the planet is in for a series of dramatic, and dangerous, changes.
"The evidence is very clear that rapid and unprecedented changes are happening in the Arctic," Dr Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in California, told the the Independent in an email. "And while there remains uncertainty about the ultimate consequences, there is a good and growing body of research that is pretty scary, and pretty much no evidence that the possible impacts will be good."
Among the likely effects of a warming Arctic on the rest of the planet are more and more unpredictable weather patterns, according to Gleick. He wrote on Twitter, "What is happening in the Arctic now is unprecedented and possibly catastrophic."
"Massive storms, sometimes called 'bomb cyclones,' are created when warm air from the Atlantic and cold air from the Arctic combine," Gleick told the the Independent. "There may be connections between out-of-season strong tornados in the central US and these new storm patterns."
Gleick's comments come after recent news that 2015 was the warmest year ever recorded, surpassing the previous record holder, 2014. "We are, effectively, conducting a global experiment on the only planet we have," Gleick said. "The interconnections with weather patterns, sea-level, and more are real."