In 2012, sea ice melted to a record-breaking minimum extent. At the end of the summer melt season, ice covered only about half of the average area it did from 1979–2000.

Arctic sea ice extent fell to 1.58 million square miles on August 26, 2012. This was 27,000 square miles smaller than the previous record low of 1.61 million square miles set in 2007.

Since the mid-1950s, easy-to-serve, portion-controlled fish sticks have regularly found their way onto U.S. dinner tables and into school lunches. The past decade, however, has given fishermen and scientists a preview of the challenges they may face in keeping fish sticks on the menu as the planet gets warmer.

In September 2011, Arctic sea ice reached its second-lowest minimum extent in the satellite record.

Phytoplankton productivity has increased 20 percent over the past decade as sea ice extent declines and more open water habitat is available.

In the Arctic, an ocean is surrounded by continents, while Antarctica is continent surrounded by oceans. These differences in the arrangement of land and water contribute to differences in each polar region’s climate, oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns, and seasonal and long-term sea ice patterns.

2012 Arctic Report Card

The annual Report Card provides clear, concise scientific information on the state of the Arctic region, organized into 5 sections: Atmosphere, Sea Ice & Ocean, Marine Ecosystems, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Hydrology & Terrestrial Cryosphere. This edition was prepared by an international team of 121 scientists from 14 different countries. Independent peer-review of the 2012 Report Card was organized by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme of the Arctic Council.

Changes in summer Arctic wind patterns contribute not only to an unprecedented loss of Arctic sea ice, but could also bring about shifts in North American and European weather, according to a new...

Pages