The Arctic has warmed more this past year than it has in recorded history.
The news has just gotten worse for our climate.
The Arctic has set another warming record after reaching 2.3 degrees F (1.3 degrees C) above average for the year ending in September, which is the highest since mankind started recording temperatures in 1900, according to a CBS News report.
The Arctic Report Card was released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and it holds bad news for our planet when it comes to climate change.
Scientists are already worried about the ice shelves in the Antarctic, which could cause sea levels to rise by tremendous amounts if they melt, but on the North Pole side, things aren’t looking great either. Warming is happening in the Arctic at twice the rate of anywhere else due to climate change, said NOAA chief scientist Rick Spinrad at a San Francisco meeting, according to the report.
The report also found that Arctic Ocean sea ice has reached its lowest maximum extent since records began in 1979, and the fourth lowest minimum ice coverage on record.
Snow cover in June in the Arctic was also at its second lowest level since records have been kept back in 1967. This results in more melting, as reduced snow cover allows more sunlight to be absorbed on the land. The amount of snow cover has been plummeting by 18 percent each decade since 1979, according to the report.
Besides a bad sign for our climate decades into the future, the retreating sea ice is bad in the short term for animals like walruses, which rely on the sea ice to give birth and to get out of the water when space on land is scarce. Because of less sea ice, walruses have been retreating to the land of northwest Alaska, which can result in stampedes that kill calves.