A new report led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration documents how climate change is warming the Arctic as a whole nearly three times as fast as the rest of the planet, mainly due to increased emissions of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.
The 2020 Arctic Report Card speaks to the continuing transformation of the Arctic into a warmer, less frozen and biologically changed region.
2020 marks the 15th year of the Artic Report Card. While in 2006 it was clear that the Arctic was changing, the complexity of change was less understood and the rapidity of change that would occur in just a few years, highlighted by the (then) record-smashing low September 2007 sea ice extent, was unanticipated, participating researchers said.
An important development over the last 15 years has been the strengthened commitments to collaborate with indigenous peoples of the Arctic so that their integrated cumulative, holistic understanding of the Arctic environment acquired over many generations critically contributes to a shared understanding of changes occurring across the region.
Researchers note that the Arctic sea ice itself has a story to tell, of change and transformation on daily, seasonal and decadal scales. It is a story of complex interactions and feedbacks, of processes that link the ice in myriad ways with the Arctic and global systems, they said.
With climate warming compelling some commercially harvested fish to move north, and for overall sea traffic in the Arctic increasing, these changes are of interest to harvesters and processors alike.
A summary report of the Arctic Report Card is online at https://arctic.noaa.gov/Report-Card/Report-Card-2020.