12 December 2018

NOAA’s Says The Polar Freezer is In Defrost Mode

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Sea Ice in the High Arctic. Dan’s Photo.

NOAA’s Arctic Report Card came out today but with all the news (that’s barely fit to print) these days, it was easy to miss. Here’s a summary of the major points and an excellent video from NOAA that summarises it.

Too bad I’ve not seen it linked on any major news sites. You can read the whole report here.

Report Card Highlights from NOAA

Surface air temperatures in the Arctic continued to warm at twice the rate relative to the rest of the globe. Arctic air temperatures for the past five years (2014-18) have exceeded all previous records since 1900.

In 2018 Arctic sea ice remained younger, thinner, and covered less area than in the past. The 12 lowest extents in the satellite record have occurred in the last 12 years.

Despite an increase of vegetation available for grazing, herd populations of caribou and wild reindeer across the Arctic tundra have declined by nearly 50% over the last two decades.

Microplastic contamination is on the rise in the Arctic, posing a threat to seabirds and marine life that can ingest debris.

Sea ice over 4 years old, now makes up only 1 % of Arctic ice! This sets the stage for the remaining ice to disappear suddenly in the next few decades.

Warming waters are increasing the threat of harmful Algae blooms in the Arctic. See this.


The data in graph form. From Zach Labe on Twitter.

While the news is bad, here is a snippet of good news courtesy of the Governors of Maryland and Virginia. They realize that the political debate on climate is not about whether it’s real, but about how we can economically change to clean energy. It’s time to leave the science/fact deniers on the side road of history and build a high-speed rail line to a reality-based future. If we do not do it in the next decade, the climate train is going to leave the station on the wrong track, and trust me, the science is clear that we do not want to go to that destination.