Arctic report card 2012
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has emphasised the “dramatic impact of persistent warming in the Arctic”, a region that many earth science institutes and networks have said witnessed numerous record-setting melting events in 2012.
The introduction to the ‘report card’ itself – this is run by the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through its Climate Program Office, Arctic Research Program – said that the Arctic region continued to break records in 2012. Among these records broken is the loss of summer sea ice, spring snow cover, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet. “This was true even though air temperatures in the Arctic were unremarkable relative to the last decade.” said the Arctic Report Card 2012.
The report has mentioned with particular concern:
1. Record low snow extent and low sea ice extent occurred in June and September, respectively.
2. Growing season length is increasing along with tundra greenness and above-ground biomass. Below the tundra, record high permafrost temperatures occurred in northernmost Alaska.
3. Duration of melting was the longest observed yet on the Greenland ice sheet, and a rare, nearly ice sheet-wide melt event occurred in July.
4. Massive phytoplankton blooms below summer sea ice suggest previous estimates of ocean primary productivity might be ten times too low.
5. Arctic fox is close to extinction in Fennoscandia and vulnerable to further changes in the lemming cycle and the encroaching Red fox.
6. Severe weather events included extreme cold and snowfall in Eurasia, and two major storms with deep central pressure and strong winds offshore of western and northern Alaska.