Like a prehistoric fly trapped in amber during dinosaurs' days, airborne relics of Earth's earlier climate can end up trapped in glacial ice for eons. How do climate scientists turn those tiny relics into a story about Earth's ancient climate?
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 early 1990s, annual atmospheric equivalent black carbon concentrations in the Arctic have decreased at the surface by as much as 55 percent—one of the few "good news" stories coming out of the region.
From record-low Arctic sea ice to the highest global sea level of the modern record, the 2012 State of the Climate report provides a complete rundown on the state of Earth's climate and how it is changing.
NOAA scientists have documented a new impact of the increasingly thin blanket of Arctic sea ice: gases escaping from the thinner ice in spring are affecting air chemistry, reducing ground-level ozone, and likely increasing mercury contamination.
It is virtually certain our world will continue to warm over this century and beyond. The exact amount of warming that will occur in the coming century depends largely on the energy choices that we make now and in the next few decades.