Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Arctic Gets Check-Up:  Temperature Highest on Record

October 2014-September 2015 average air temperatures across the Arctic compared to the 1981-2010 average and history of Arctic temperatures compared to the global average. (Credit: NOAA Click to Enlarge.
The Arctic has just received its yearly checkup from a group of international scientists, and the patient isn’t looking well.

The region continues to be one of the fastest warming on the planet.  From October 2014 to September 2015, it had the warmest average temperature on record going back to 1900, as the planet heads toward its warmest year on record.  That accelerated warming has repercussions in the form of downward-spiraling sea ice coverage, melting of the massive Greenland Ice Sheet, and reduced summer snow cover.

All that change is having impacts on Arctic ecosystems and key species, and could lead to more shipping traffic and oil exploration in the region, as well as to impacts outside of the Arctic.

“The impacts of the persistent warming trend of over 30 years are clearly evident in land and ocean environments,” Kit Kovacs, a program leader of biodiversity research at the Norwegian Polar Institute and a co-author of the 2015 Arctic Report Card, said.  She spoke here Tuesday during a presentation of the major findings of the report at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Given the projections of further warming over the rest of the century, the world can expect to see “continued, widespread” change in the Arctic, Kovacs said.

Read  more at Arctic Gets Check-Up:  Temperature Highest on Record

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