It’s finally here! Yesterday, scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced the ultimate sign of spring: Arctic sea ice reached its winter peak on March 21, 2014, and the annual melt season is underway.
In October 2003, a little-known think tank in the Department of Defense quietly released a report warning that climate change could happen so suddenly it could pose a major threat to our country's national security. Why was the Pentagon worried about abrupt climate change? Because new evidence from Greenland showed it had happened before.
Although you might have a hard time convincing residents of the eastern United States, Scandinavia, and Russia (outside of Sochi, anyway), January’s global average surface temperature balanced out as the fourth warmest in the historical record.
Persistent cold temperatures in the Midwest this winter almost completely frozen over many of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) reported that 88 percent of the Great Lakes were frozen as of mid-February.
From reindeer to regional temperature patterns, from sea ice age to Greenland surface melt, the Arctic Report Card is a yearly assessment of the Arctic's physical and biological systems and how they are changing. This collection of visual highlights from the 2013 report is a story of the Arctic in pictures.
Since the mid-1960s, the Arctic has warmed about 3.6°F (2.0°C)—more than double the amount of warming in lower latitudes. In 2012 (the last complete calendar year available at the time scientists began working on the 2013 Arctic Report Card), the annual average temperature was the sixth warmest on record.
After record-breaking melt during the 2012 season, the 2013 melt extent was more on par with the long-term average. The reprieve from the record warmth and melting of the past six summers is likely connected to a strong positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation during summer 2013.