Arctic Temperatures Still Rising

A new report led by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that Arctic air temperatures continue to rise at more than twice the rate of global air temperatures, a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification.

Increasing air and sea surface temperatures, declining reflectivity at the surface of the Greenland ice sheet, shrinking spring snow cover on land and summer ice on the ocean, and declining populations and health of some polar bear populations are among the observations released in the Arctic Report Card 2014.

“Arctic warming is setting off changes that affect people and the environment in this fragile region, and has broader effects beyond the Arctic on global security, trade, and climate,” Craig McLean, acting assistant administrator for the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, said during a press conference at the annual American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco. “This year’s Arctic Report Card shows the importance of international collaboration on long-term observing programs that can provide vital information to inform decisions by citizens, policymakers and industry.”

McLean joined other scientists to release the Arctic Report Card, an annual update provided since 2006, that summarizes changing conditions in the Arctic. Some 63 authors from 13 countries, United States and other nation’s federal agencies and academia contributed to the peer-reviewed report. This year’s report features updates on key indicators as well as a new report on the status of polar bears.

“The Arctic Report Card 2014 presents observations vital for documenting the state of the Arctic environmental system, understanding the complex interactions and feedbacks within the system, and predicting its future,” said Martin Jeffries, Ph.D., principal editor of the 2014 Report Card, and Arctic Science Advisor and Program Officer for Arctic and Global Prediction, Office of Naval Research.“Observing, understanding and predicting are essential elements of the Arctic Research Plan of the Inter-agency Arctic Research Policy Committee and the implementation of the U.S. National Strategy for the Arctic Region.”

Image: Kathy Crane, NOAA

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