The Arctic Is Drastically Changing Due to Climate Change: Watch New Video From NOAA
Global warming is rapidly changing the Arctic into a region that is, "warmer, less frozen, and biologically changed in ways that are scarcely imaginable even a generation ago," according to NOAA's annual Arctic report card, released Tuesday.
That description, from Rick Thoman, a University of Alaska scientist and one of the editors of the assessment, describes not just the region's dramatic loss of sea ice, but also its soaring temperatures and the wildfires that burned an estimated 23 million acres across Siberia.
As global warming caused by burning fossil fuels heats the planet, it has an outsized impact on the Arctic, which in turn has an outsized impact on the rest of the globe. "Changes in the Arctic climate are important because the Arctic acts as a refrigerator for the rest of the world — it helps cool the planet," Lawrence Mudryk, a report contributor and a climate scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, told The Associated Press. "How much of the Arctic continues to be covered by snow and sea ice reflects part of how efficiently that refrigerator is working."
An animation shows Arctic sea ice from this year's maximum to minimum, along with the 30-year average minimum. Trent L. Schindler / NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
As reported by The New York Times:
"Nearly everything in the Arctic, from ice and snow to human activity, is changing so quickly that there is no reason to think that in 30 years much of anything will be as it is today," [Thoman] said.
While the whole planet is warming because of emissions of heat-trapping gases through burning of fossil fuels and other human activity, the Arctic is heating up more than twice as quickly as other regions. That warming has cascading effects elsewhere, raising sea levels, influencing ocean circulation and, scientists increasingly suggest, playing a role in extreme weather.
For a deeper dive:
- Arctic Wildfires Are Changing, With Big Implications for the Global ... ›
- We Are Failing to Protect the Arctic From the Climate Crisis, Report ... ›
- Welcome to the 'New Arctic': The Region 'As We Once Knew It Is No ... ›
- The Past 5 Years Were the Arctic's Warmest on Record - EcoWatch ›
- NOAA: 'Arctic Warming at Least Twice as Fast as the Rest of the ... ›
- Moon Influences Arctic Ocean Methane Releases, Study Finds - EcoWatch ›
- 'Biggest Threat Yet' to Arctic Refuge as Trump Readies Last-Minute Lease Sale - EcoWatch ›
- Construction Begins on Keystone XL Pipeline in Montana - EcoWatch ›
- Trump Approves Keystone XL Pipeline, Groups Vow 'The Fight Is ... ›
- Keystone XL Pipeline Construction to Forge Ahead During ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Monir Ghaedi
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal.
European satellites continue to provide data on climate change.
In 2018, a team of researchers went to West Africa's Nimba Mountains in search of one critically endangered species of bat. Along the way, they ended up discovering another.
- Eek! Bat Populations Are Shrinking. Here Are A Few Ways to Help ... ›
- First Bat Removed From U.S. Endangered Species List Helps ... ›
- What We've Lost: The Species Declared Extinct in 2020 - EcoWatch ›
By Jim Palardy
As 2021 dawns, people, ecosystems, and wildlife worldwide are facing a panoply of environmental issues. In an effort to help experts and policymakers determine where they might focus research, a panel of 25 scientists and practitioners — including me — from around the globe held discussions in the fall to identify emerging issues that deserve increased attention.
Ask a Scientist: What Should the Biden Administration and Congress Do to Address the Climate Crisis?
By Elliott Negin
What a difference an election makes. Thanks to the Biden-Harris victory in November, the next administration is poised to make a 180-degree turn to again address the climate crisis.
- Biden Reaffirms Commitment to Rejoining Paris Agreement ... ›
- Joe Biden Appoints Climate Crisis Team - EcoWatch ›
- Biden Plans to Fight Climate Change in a New Way - EcoWatch ›