The latest Arctic Report Card compiled by 63 scientists around the world and published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) raises some serious concerns about global warming. NOAA updates the report annually. This year’s observations showed excess summer ice melting in Greenland, record high temperatures in Alaska, and below average snow cover across the Arctic.
Arctic warming will have a broader impact
The annual report was released on Wednesday in San Francisco. Craig McLean of NOAA said that the Arctic warming will have a broader impact on global security, climate and trade. The report revealed that air temperature in the Arctic is getting warmer compared to the 30-year average. Air temperatures are considered driver and indicator of regional as well as global changes.
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The Arctic continues to warm at more than twice the rate for the rest of the world. This year’s report tracked temperatures between October 2013 and September 2014. It showed minor improvement, including a slight thickening of Arctic ice. The extent of Arctic sea ice, fortunately, didn’t hit the record low in 2014. But it was sixth lowest since observations began in 1979.
Arctic snow cover was below 30-year average
Alaska experienced temperature anomalies 10 degrees Celsius higher than the January average. During the spring, snow cover across the Arctic was well below the 30-year average. What’s more, new record lows for snow cover were observed in Eurasia in April. Snow cover in North America in June was third lowest on record. In western Russia, Scandinavia and western Alaska, snow disappeared 3-4 weeks earlier than normal, largely due to higher temperatures.
There is more open water and less ice. As a result, sunlight could enter more of the ocean, helping tiny marine plants bloom. The report said that the greenness of tundra on land continues to increase, suggesting lesser snow-covered areas. The fall in Arctic sea ice has also reduced the number of polar bears in Canada’s western Hudson Bay. But polar bear populations seem to be stable elsewhere.