The Arctic temperatures have hit the highest level since 1900, and researchers expect it to rise further due to global warming. According to the 2015 Arctic Report Card published by scientists at the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Arctic air warmed faster than any other place on the planet for the second straight year.
It will have ramifications across the globe
The NOAA chief scientist Rick Spinrad told attendees at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco that the Arctic was warming twice as fast other parts of the Earth. It will have ramifications on global trade, commerce, security, and climate. The exhaustive study confirms that the Arctic is experiencing dramatic and rapid change due to global warming.
The report card states that the annual surface-air temperature over the period of the study, between Oct. 2014 and Sept. 2015, was 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the average temperature between 1981 and 2010. According to scientists, the air temperature in the region has increased by more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit due to global warming since the turn of the last century.
Arctic sea ice retreating at record pace
Earlier this year, researchers found that the Arctic glaciers were retreating at record speeds. The NOAA scientists also found another record for sea ice shrinkage. Researchers have measured the reach and surface area of sea ice at its peak in winter and at its minimum in summer since 1979. They discovered that this year’s minimum was fourth smallest on record, and the peak was smallest on record.
All these changes are directly affecting the marine animals and vegetation. More sunlight is reaching the upper layers of the Arctic Ocean due to the retreating sea ice. It has fueled larger blooms of phytoplankton along the edges of the continental shelf. Marine animals are struggling to adapt to changes occurring at an alarming pace. For example, walruses sea ice for mating, giving birth, and getting out of the water. But a retreating sea ice has forced them to travel farther.