The Arctic Pretty Much Flunked Its 'Report Card' This Year
In other words? It's warming at an "astonishing" rate.
BY Sammy Nickalls | Dec 16, 2016 | Culture
Here are two important pieces of information you may not know: 1) the Arctic has an annual report card, and 2) it got a big, fat F this year.
Every year, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration releases its "Arctic Report Card," which serves as an overview of what's happening in the North Pole. "In terms of sea ice, I'd say sea ice cover is a D+," Dartmouth University geophysicist Donald Perovich told reporters yesterday. "Because I'm an easy grader."
So why is the Arctic getting such terrible grades? Just in time for Christmas, it turns out the Arctic is melting at an "astonishing" rate, according to researchers. "The Arctic as a whole is warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the planet," NOAA climate scientist Jeremy Mathis, one of the report's authors, said according to NPR.
Normally, the Arctic is colder because of the snow and ice that reflect much of the sunlight back into space, but due to climate change, that snow and ice is melting more and more—and the exposed ground is absorbing the sun's heat. Last month, ice cover across the arctic averaged at 3.51 million square miles, which sounds like a lot until you compare it with its 1981 to 2010 average of over 4 million square miles.
"The Arctic is getting persistently warmer," Mathis added. "Sea ice is continuing to show declines, particularly in the summer months. The second big story for 2016 has been the winter temperatures."
The Greeland ice sheet, which is the second largest ice sheet in the world, is continuing to shrink. Research estimates that if it melted completely, sea levels would rise approximately 20 feet. The more the ice shrinks, the faster the warming occurs. "The pace of the change that's happening in the Arctic... is truly unprecedented," Mathis said, according to the Verge. "It's a feedback loop that leads to this warming effect that we've seen."
More sunlight is also reaching algae and other marine plants, which could have major consequences to the food chain for the entire area's ecosystem. But it's not just relegated to the Arctic. "The Arctic is going to touch the life of every single American, whether directly or indirectly, and I think that impact is going to grow over time," Mathis said, according to the Verge.
In other words? Way, way worse than that time you flunked math.
From: Esquire US