Sea Ice Loss and Extreme Wildfires Mark Another Year of Arctic Change


Arctic Report Card: 15 years of observations document impact of changing polar climate

OAA’s 15th Arctic Report Card catalogs for 2020 the numerous ways that climate change continues to disrupt the polar region, with second-highest air temperatures and second-lowest summer sea ice driving a cascade of impacts, including the loss of snow and extraordinary wildfires in northern Russia.

The Arctic Report Card is an annual compilation of original, peer-reviewed environmental observations and analyses of a region undergoing rapid and dramatic alterations to weather, climate, oceanic, and land conditions. Compiled by 133 scientists from 15 countries, the 2020 report card tracks environmental indicators to inform decisions by local, state and federal leaders confronting a rapidly changing climate and ecosystems. It was released today during a virtual press conference hosted by the American Geophysical Union as part of its fall meeting.

“For 15 years, the Arctic Report Card has helped NOAA fulfill its mission of providing the scientific information our nation needs to better understand how climate change is affecting the Arctic and weather around the globe,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, Ph.D., deputy undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere at NOAA, who led the news conference. “Our ability to meet the challenges and opportunities of an Arctic region in transition depends on how well we can observe and predict the pace and scale of these changes.”

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