2011 Arctic Report Card: Arctic settles into new phase - warmer, greener, and less ice

  • 8 December 2011
2011 Arctic Report Card: Arctic settles into new phase - warmer, greener, and less ice
Large geopotential height anomalies
Fig. 1.3. Geopotential height (700 mb) anomalies from November 2014 to June 2015 over western North America and the eastern Pacific Ocean.

An international team of scientists who monitor the rapid changes in the Earth's northern polar region say that the Arctic is entering a new state - one with warmer air and water temperatures, less summer sea ice and snow cover, and a changed ocean chemistry. This shift is also causing changes in the in the region's life, both on land and in the sea, including less habitat for polar bears and walruses but increased access to feeding areas for whales.

Changes to the Arctic are chronicled annually in the Arctic Report Card, which was introduced in 2006 by NOAA's Climate Program Office. An international team of scientists from 14 different countries prepares the report. The latest update was released on Dec. 1, 2011.

"This report, by a team of 121 scientists from around the globe, concludes that the Arctic region continues to warm, with less sea ice and greater green vegetation," said Monica Medina, NOAA principal deputy under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. "With a greener and warmer Arctic, more development is likely. Reports like this one help us to prepare for increasing demands on Arctic resources so that better decisions can be made about how to manage and protect these more valuable and increasingly available resources."

Read NOAA's press release to learn about the 2011 Arctic Report Card's major highlights.

For more information:
Arctic Report Card: www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard
Climate Watch Magazine: Highlights of the 2011 Arctic Report Card
NOAA's Arctic Theme Page: www.arctic.noaa.gov
NOAA Arctic Research News: researchmatters.noaa.gov/news/Pages/Arctic.aspx 

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