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The Arctic Region Breaking Records

According to the Arctic Report Card  of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the Arctic region continued to break records in 2012.

None of those records bode well for the future of the region.

Loss of summer sea ice, loss of spring snow cover, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet were all recorded.

This was true even though air temperatures in the Arctic were unremarkable relative to the last decade, according to a new report released on December 5th.

A record-breaking 141 authors from 15 countries contributed to the peer-reviewed report. Major findings of this year’s report include:

Snow cover: A new record low snow extent for the Northern Hemisphere was set in June 2012, and a new record low was reached in May over Eurasia.

Sea ice: Minimum Arctic sea ice extent in September 2012 set a new all-time record low, as measured by satellite since 1979.

Greenland ice sheet: There was a rare, nearly ice sheet-wide melt event on the Greenland ice sheet in July, covering about 97 percent of the ice sheet on a single day.

Vegetation: The tundra is getting greener and there’s more above-ground growth. During the period of 2003-2010, the length of the growing season increased through much of the Arctic.

Wildlife & food chain: In northernmost Europe, the Arctic fox is close to extinction and vulnerable to the encroaching Red fox..

Ocean: Sea surface temperatures in summer continue to be warmer than the long-term average at the growing ice-free margins, while upper ocean temperature and salinity show significant inter annual variability with no clear trends.

Weather: Most of the notable weather activity in fall and winter occurred in the sub-Arctic due to a strong positive North Atlantic Oscillation, expressed as the atmospheric pressure difference between weather stations in the Azores and Iceland.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. It is vital we heed these climate changes as a warning of what is to come.

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