The Arctic is hotter than ever, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual report card. The report contains the data from 61 scientists in 11 countries. They noticed a massive decline in sea ice and snow.
The Arctic report card is a timely and peer-reviewed source for clear, reliable and concise environmental information on the current state of different components of the Arctic environmental system relative to historical records. It is issued annually since 2006. This year report card is released at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco.
- Temperature: Annual average surface air temperature over land was 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than at the start of the 20. century. It is warming at the twice the rate of the global temperatures. Part of the extreme was due to especially warm air coming from the south during the winter of 2016.
- Sea Ice: Arctic have minimum sea ice extent at the end of summer – 33% below the long-term average. It is the second lowest amount during the official arctic report card period.
- Snow Cover: The Arctic ice pack is more vulnerable to summer melting than the thicker, stronger ice pack of the 80s. With less ice cover there is more solar heating throughout much of the Arctic ocean and adjacent seas. This cause ocean photosynthesis increased which changes the basis of the food chain.
- Greenland ice sheet: The Greenland ice sheet continued to lose mass in 2016. In 37 years of Greenland ice sheet observations, only one year had an earlier onset of spring melting than 2016.
- Ocean acidification: the ocean is more vulnerable to ocean acidification, a process driven by the ocean’s uptake of increased human-caused carbon dioxide emissions.
- Carbon: the warming tundra is now releasing more carbon into the atmosphere than it is taking up.
Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA’s Research Program said: “Rarely have we seen the Arctic show a clearer, stronger or more pronounced signal of persistent warming and its cascading effects on the environment than this year”. NOAA’s Report Card points to global warming at alarming rates.