The Arctic broke multiple climate records and experienced highest temperatures recorded this year.
Researchers found that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.
According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s annual Arctic report card, there’s been a “massive decline in sea ice and snow” in the Arctic region.
“Rarely have we seen the Arctic show a clearer, stronger, or more pronounced signal of persistent warming and its cascading effects on the environment than this year,” said Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA’s Arctic Research Program.
Data collected by 61 scientists in 11 countries show that air temperatures over the Arctic from October 2015 to September 2016 were “by far the highest in the observational record beginning in 1900”. The region set new monthly 20°C (36°F) warmer than average in November.
The report includes that ice in the region has decreased in all months of 2016 except for Bering see during winter.
It’s also revealed that there’s a shift in the carbon cycle because of melting permafrost in the northern latitudes. This can lead to increased amount of CO2 and methane released into the atmosphere and there’s already too much of it.
Report Card Highlights
- The average surface air temperature for the year ending September 2016 is by far the highest since 1900, and new monthly record highs, recorded for January, February, October, and November 2016.
- In 37 years of Greenland ice sheet observations, only one year had an earlier onset of spring melting than 2016.
- Spring snow cover extent in the North American Arctic was the lowest in the satellite record, which started in 1967.
- After only modest changes from 2013 to 2015, minimum sea ice extent at the end of summer 2016 tied with 2007 for the second lowest in the satellite record, which started in 1979.
Another report from the last weekend announces that as of December 4, we’ve lost 3.76 million square kilometers of sea ice from the Arctic and Antarctica – more than the total area of India – we’ve got a very big problem on our hands.
“Personally, I would have to say that this last year has been the most extreme year for the Arctic that I have ever seen,” Mark Serreze, director of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado, who wasn’t part of the report, told the Associated Press.
The report can be seen at the NOAA’s website, and you can watch a video summary below: