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Arctic Report Card 2017: Ice Cover Is Shrinking Faster Compared With Prior 1,500 Years
By Brenda Ekwurzel
The 2017 Arctic Report Card reflects contributions from 85 scientists representing 12 countries. The pace of sea ice area (hereafter extent) decrease is unprecedented over the past 1,500 years, according to Emily Osborne's et al. 2017 contribution to the Arctic Report Card released Tuesday.
Osborne and team carefully relied upon 45 different archives with a variety of yearly records (i.e. ice cores, tree rings and sediment cores) that provide information on air temperature, sea surface temperature and Arctic sea ice extent. Note that record ends at around 2,000.
Osborne, Cronin, and Farmer, 2017, Arctic Report Card (NOAA)
Sea ice extent, temperature anomaly, CO2 concentrations. Temperature anomalies show the fluctuations in temperature around a long-term mean; positive anomalies indicate warmer than average temperatures within a time series. The vertical dashed black line marks the start of the Industrial Revolution and global impacts of anthropogenic carbon emissions.
To see the latest story with sea ice extent observations, Don Perovich's et al. 2017 contribution to the Arctic Report Card demonstrates it is not rebounding or recovering.
It is critical to track such unprecedented pace of change.
Navy Rear Admiral (Ret.) Timothy Gallaudet, acting NOAA administrator, highlighted the national security and economic reasons for closely tracking changes in the Arctic.
Gallaudet mentioned that NOAA is already taking action in terms of advancing our Earth system prediction and capability. Various departments depend on this information including Departments of Commerce, Agriculture and Defense.
Perovich et al., 2017, Arctic Report Card (NOAA)
Time series of ice extent anomalies in March (maximum ice extent) and September (minimum ice extent). The anomaly value for each year is the difference (in percent) in ice extent relative to the mean values for the period 1981-2010. The black and red dashed lines are least squares linear regression lines. The slopes of these lines indicate ice losses of -2.7 percent and -13.2 percent per decade in March and September, respectively.
The longer-term perspective sure gives the impression of precipitous decline in Arctic Sea ice extent. Accordingly, there are many consequences associated with such a rapid pace of change.
Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA's Arctic Research Program noted that "the Arctic is among the most under observed places on the planet. The imperative is clear whether we are dealing with open ocean navigation, refugees or native hunters."
Spanning a dozen years, NOAA, has consistently delivered a robust assessment of the Arctic. As we know, the world depends on this information because what happens in the Arctic influences coastlines around the world, extreme weather events in the Northern Hemisphere and more.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dr. Brian R. Shmaefsky
One year after the Flint Water Crisis I was invited to participate in a water rights session at a conference hosted by the US Human Rights Network in Austin, Texas in 2015. The reason I was at the conference was to promote efforts by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to encourage scientists to shine a light on how science intersects with human rights, in the U.S. as well as in the context of international development. My plan was to sit at an information booth and share my stories about water quality projects I spearheaded in communities in Bangladesh, Colombia, and the Philippines. I did not expect to be thrown into conversations that made me reexamine how scientists use their knowledge as a public good.
The shipping industry is coming to grips with its egregious carbon footprint, as it has an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and to the dumping of chemicals into open seas. Already, the global shipping industry contributes about 2 percent of global carbon emissions, about the same as Germany, as the BBC reported.
The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC overlooks the Tidal Basin, a man-made body of water surrounded by cherry trees. Visitors can stroll along the water's edge, gazing up at the stately monument.
But at high tide, people are forced off parts of the path. Twice a day, the Tidal Basin floods and water spills onto the walkway.