The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have just released their latest annual Arctic Report Card and it is not good. The report card, which was created by more than 80 scientists from 12 nations, covers trends that are very worrisome.
The Arctic faced the second-highest record temperature since the start of the 20th century. As well, the waters of the Arctic are much warmer than they should be. In August 2017, certain areas of surface temperatures were 4°C warmer than they were from 1982 to 2010.
The sea ice in the Arctic continues to disappear at a face pace as well. Maximum winter sea ice levels in March were the lowest ever recorded. On top of that, the ice continues to get thinner and most of that comprise of new, young ice which is more prone to melt.
On land, the Arctic permafrost which comprises of frozen soil, rock, or sediment that stays frozen for years is warming as well. The tundra has seen more greenery than ever recorded.
Diving under the ice into the ocean, primary production is also rising. Primary productivity is the rate at which organisms like phytoplankton and cyanobacteria turn energy into organic substances through reactions like photosynthesis. At face value, this may seem like a good thing but actually it ends to be associated with earlier sea ice breakup in the spring and summer.
The evidence found by scientist is very troubling. The acceleration of life growth, warming temperatures and ice loss all point to the decimation (link) of our Arctic climates.
On a slightly brighter upside, NOAA found that a cooler spring and summer temperatures in the Arctic this year did lead to more snow cover in the Eurasian Arctic. What’s more, it also meant that summer sea ice loss was lower, and the Greenland ice sheet experienced a below-average amount of melting.