This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Arctic Report Card has serious warnings about the impact of climate change on northern latitudes. The Arctic’s seven warmest years on record have all occurred in the last seven years, and the effects are getting harder to miss. Fires, shrinking ice cover, shorter winters and more rain are making the Arctic a visibly different place, particularly for the people who live there.
The Arctic is warming up between two and four times more quickly than the rest of the planet, putting it on the front lines as the climate changes. Rising water temperature is reducing sea ice extent, and ice cover was well below the long-term average in 2022. The reduced sea ice cover may be contributing to heavier rains over the Siberian Arctic, as open ocean can more easily transfer moisture to the atmosphere.
Warmer water is also undercutting the edges of glaciers on the coast of Greenland, contributing to the speedup of loss of ice. The Greenland Ice Sheet lost mass for the 25th year running in 2022, and in September, unprecedented late-season warming brought melting conditions to more than a third of the ice sheet – even the summit, some 10,000 feet above sea level. Read on.