Arctic Report Card Trends: "Consistent, Alarming and Undeniable"

Through the icy dome that crowns the Earth, rising temperatures make the tundra greener and more lush. Beavers are expanding their rang...


Through the icy dome that crowns the Earth, rising temperatures make the tundra greener and more lush. Beavers are expanding their range. The rubbish of passing ships defile the shores. Forest fires burn once permanently frozen lands of Siberia.

This is the picture that scientists painted in their last evaluation of the Arctic, which is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the world. This warming has caused a variety of disturbances that make the polar region a potential harbinger of what people in lower latitudes could one day experience as a result of human-induced climate change.

“Vulnerabilities in the Arctic are more visible,” said Matthew L. Druckenmiller of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, who was the publisher of the new assessment. “But these are similar vulnerabilities that we are going to see develop across our planet in the decades to come.”

While this year’s Arctic Report Card does not recount “blockbuster”, record-breaking changes in the region’s climate, it nonetheless shows “consistent, alarming and undeniable” trends towards radically different conditions there. low, said Richard W. Spinrad, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which performs the annual health check.

Snow cover and sea ice continued to be below average. In April, the volume of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean was the lowest since records began in 2010, the assessment authors reported. Sea ice helps slow warming by reflecting most of the sunlight that hits it.

Arctic sea ice this year was also thinner than in recent years, the researchers said. The thinning of the ice has led to an increase in maritime traffic, and with it an increase in litter and noise pollution that could affect the movement of marine mammals.

In the Eurasian Arctic, snow cover in June was the third lowest since records began in 1967, scientists said. This has increased the potential for wildfires such as those that have ravaged Siberia in recent summers.

The Greenland Ice Cap, which covers approximately 650,000 square miles and is already one of the fastest melting pieces of ice on Earth, experienced three episodes of “extreme melting” this summer, the researchers reported. At the frigid top of the leaf in August, it rained for what is believed to be the first time.

More than 110 scientists from 12 countries contributed to the latest Arctic Report Card, which was presented in New Orleans on Tuesday at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting.

Changing conditions at the top of the world can have cascading effects further afield, said Gabriel J. Wolken, a researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and lead author of the bulletin’s chapter on glaciers and permafrost.

Melting glaciers can cause sea levels to rise around the world. And the frozen soils of the Arctic store large amounts of carbon. Like thawing permafrost, this carbon could be released into the air, accelerating global warming.

This is in addition to the increased likelihood of landslides that shrinkage and thawing permafrost cause in the Arctic. In Alaska a few years ago, a slope failure at the edge of a glacier sent millions of tons of rock into a bay, producing one of the highest documented tsunamis.

The authors of this year’s newsletter noted that residents of the Arctic region are directly feeling the impacts of all of these changes. In recent years, researchers have started to seek input from local indigenous communities to produce the assessment.

“These changes are not abstract,” said Richard L. Thoman, climate scientist at the University of Alaska and other editor of the report. “It’s not just about polar bears. These are real human beings, members of the global community who are currently affected. “

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Newsrust - US Top News: Arctic Report Card Trends: "Consistent, Alarming and Undeniable"
Arctic Report Card Trends: "Consistent, Alarming and Undeniable"
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