October 22nd, 2010
12:13 PM ET

NOAA: Arctic changes are affecting climate elsewhere

Changes such as a decrease in sea ice have consequences elsewhere, the report says.

The Arctic's warming trend is beginning to affect the climate farther south, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said this week in its annual Arctic Report Card.

"There is evidence that the effect of higher air temperatures in the lower Arctic atmosphere in fall is contributing to changes in the atmospheric circulation in both the Arctic and northern mid-latitudes," wrote the report's authors, a team of 69 international scientists.

Extreme cold and big snowfalls can be blamed on the Arctic changes, according to NOAA.

"Beyond affecting the humans and wildlife that call the area home, the Arctic's warmer temperatures and decreases in permafrost, snow cover, glaciers and sea ice also have wide-ranging consequences for the physical and biological systems in other parts of the world," NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said.

Sea ice reaches its minimum in September every year. This year's September ice cover was the third-smallest recorded since microwave satellites started taking measurements in 1979, the authors wrote.

"The last four summers have experienced the four lowest minimums in the satellite record, and eight of the 10 lowest minimums have occurred during the last decade," the report card said.

The sea ice also appears to be much younger than two decades ago, as ice that survived from year to year has dwindled to a fraction of its former mass, the data showed.

Watch a NOAA video illustrating the changes

Greenland, the Arctic's great glacier-covered land mass, experienced record-setting high air temperatures, ice loss and glacier area loss, the report said.

"A combination of a warm and dry 2009-2010 winter and the very warm summer resulted in the highest melt rate since at least 1958 and an area and duration of ice sheet melting that was above any previous year on record since at least 1978," the authors wrote.

Furthermore, "a clear pattern of exceptional and record-setting warm air temperatures is evident at long-term meteorological stations around Greenland," they wrote.

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Filed under: Climate change • Earth • Environment • Science • Weather
soundoff (930 Responses)
  1. Elizabeth

    Brandon is correct. Warming and cooling cycles are very natural, but it's the RATE of warming that's the problem. Milankonvich cycles produce the amount of warming (or cooling) we have observed over tens of thousands of years, not decades. Ecosystems cannot adapt to such fast changes. Likewise, species always go extinct, but the RATE at which they are become extinct today is comparable to the rate of the five largest mass extinctions in earth's history. And Richard, please try to understand the distinction between WEATHER and CLIMATE. Why is it so hard for some Americans to respect science and trust the vast majority of the scientific community?

    October 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randolph Carter

      Because most Americans are as dumb as a box of hammers and believe anything their TV tells them to believe over what the vast majority of climate scientists agree on (except for the scientists in the pay of the coal and oil industries). Have a nice day!

      October 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. joe08

    Well this is for Notamoron who wrote "Here are some facts for you, Mano: CO2 molecules are heat sponges" well that's not entirely ture the heat capactiy of CO2 at standard presssure and temp is 0.037 kJ/(mol.K) meaning for each mole of air for each degree can store 0.037 kJ, air at 20 degrees C (5 degrees less than standard) is 1.005 kJ/(mol.K) which is 0.968 kJ more. Now of course air does have some CO2 in it, the in creased molare concentration of CO2 would decreace the secific heat. So no, CO2 is not a heat spoung.

    October 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Larry

    It all comes down to this: Would you rather risk doing nothing and discover you could've made a difference or would you rather risk doing something and discover it didn't matter? Before making a snap decision, apply that to other areas of your life.

    October 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CW

    The population is under control, in fact it will start declining in the next few years. Take China for example, the one-child policy is setting up that society for issues. Soon you will have a 4-2-1 society, or 1 child supporting 2 parents and 4 grandparents. As more women continue to enter the work force and limit their child birth years, countries across the globe will start to decline. In fact, look at the immigrant latino population, once known for multiple births, but after a generation or two in the United States they limit their children reproduction to 1 child. Global warming will end as we enter the next stage of human evolution.

    October 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Aaron

    You know... Let's just assume that climate change doesn't exist despite the mounting evidence to the contrary and the assertions of hundreds of scientist from around the world who have come to the consensus that it DOES exist... Lets just assume that ALL of that is wrong. Does that make pumping CFC's into the environment an excusable act? No. I find it absolutely deplorable that people A) choose to ignore scientists when they probably work at an insurance sales office, and B) make a leap of logic which results in the stance "well if filing the sky with poison doesn't cause climate change, then it must be okay to fill the sky with poison". Even if climate change DOESN'T exist, something should be done.

    October 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe08

      well according to the Material Safety Data Sheets, CFCs and HCFCs are colourless, volatile, relatively non-toxic liquids and gases with a faintly sweet ethereal odour. Overexposure may cause dizziness, loss of concentration, Central Nervous System depression and/or cardiac arrhythmia. Vapors displace air and can cause asphyxiation in confined spaces. I think the worest is the asphyxiation via displacement of oxygen which explains arrhythmia. so it's not the worest thing we've sent up it it wasn't for upper atmospheric reactions.

      October 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Doh!!

    So are today's scientists comparing their data with that of the guys from the 1200's? 1300's? You know, all that precise satellite and microwave measurements they were taking back then so we can compare apples to apples? weren't there multiple ice ages? That would mean there were multiple warming periods as well... But we can all still panic... because something HAS to go wrong..... right?

    October 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Got Hummer?

    Wow, the eco-tards are out in force tonight....must be a full moon.

    The inconvenient truth is that global temperatures are trending within the normal planetary range. But political criminals, like Al Gore, and human-phobes, like all you crazies posting above, can't help yourself but to get whipped up into a frothy frenzy about something you know nothing about.

    Here.....expand your mind and shrink your ignorance but listening to an opposing viewpoint. I realize that this guy is only a planetary meteorology professor at MIT, and the article is from that conservative snot rag, The Boston Globe, but you all need to open up a big can of shut the hell up.



    October 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benbo

      Ok...so we should go with the 1% of scientists who claim the opposite of the other 99%? The overwhelming scientific consensus on this matter is very clear–I fail to see the rationality of following the very few contradictory outliers because of political faith.

      October 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • jos Bridges

      Benbo...what do you do for a living? Just curious because I happent o be a Scientist, have been for more than 25 years now. Funny thing is that I am still trying to find ONE "Scientist" that agrees with Global Warming. I have, in my short 25 year career, been introduced to and known thousands if not tens of thousands of Scientists....still waiting to find one that agees with this Global Warming dribble. You are claiming that 99% of Scientists agree with Global Warming, I am telling you that I have been a Scientist for more than 25 years, have friends who are the same as well as met quite possibly tens of thousands of Scientist and have not come accross a single Scientist that believes in this stuff? Simple math should dictate that with your numbers, 99 out of 100 Scientists I meet or talk with believe in your dribble. I'm not finding that to be true my uneducated friend....

      October 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • tx

      Who pays the other 99%?

      October 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benbo

      jos Bridges: CLIMATE scientists studying the specific phenomenon of climate change. It's kind of implied. There seems to be a widespread misunderstanding that anyone whose career can be classified as "scientist" must have a scientifically valid and robust theory on climate change. It's like assuming all auto mechanics must be skilled to work on billion dollar stealth fighters.

      October 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Inalong

      I'm an environmental engineer who knows a lot of scientists too. They all concur that we are causing global climate change. The real problem in methane gas generation. Methane is five times worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

      October 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tyler

    Jambar- Sure I will read some of those articles, but while I do that why don't you read the peer-reviewed scientific articles on the internet that provide evidence that humans have little affect on climate change, and the earth goes through fluctuations all the time.

    October 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Vince

    Let's just enjoy the time we have left before we get to join God in eternal happiness.

    October 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. patNY


    Jean, you do realize that plants give off more CO2 in one day than all human activity does in four years. Right?

    Plants give off O2, not CO2...they absorb CO2 you nitwit idiot! I hope you don't vote.

    October 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • tx

      I am afraid you are incorrect. Plants produce O2 as a byproduct of photosynthesis. The other product of photosynthesis are long sugar chains which the plant uses for energy. The process by which the sugar is broken down is call Glycolosis. During this process, the sugar produced by photosynthesis, must be broken down to release its stored energy in the form of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). The byproduct of Glycolosis is water and unfortunately for you, CO2. Celular respiration takes place in both animals and plants, so yes., plants do produce CO2.

      October 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    Quick! Where are the Koch billionaire and Exxon Mobile backed deniers!! More evidence!! THIS MUST be a liberal conspiracy!! Science is never right!!

    October 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jimbo

    Highest temperatures in years. And the problem is? So there is less ice.... GOOD! I hate ice! It's nearly 65 in Chicago (where I am) today and 65 in Chicago in late Oct. is excellent, so if this is the global warming they speak of... BRING IT ON! Maybe finally Chicago won't have such a horse S- climate. I can do 60's in Oct and maybe cool down to the 50's in the winter and 90s in the summer would be nice. That would mean "warming" would have to take place, but SO WHAT! It would be an improvement from what we have had around here.

    October 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Neil

    Personally I am glad its shifting and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Thank God. Maybe human arrogance needs more hits like this. We are not the masters of the universe.

    October 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ruth

    you are all just babies dreaming in a world that was already destroyed in your understanding of the summer of 1977. this stage has been battled over for all of time understanding. the melting ice is the causualty of war. it is a cleansing and a burning of many a book and a cripling of a very nasty evil. so no worries, be glad of it. earth airlines will be up and flying right soon. she always gets her man straightened out eventually. and shes extremely thorough and concise. we are all going to a place we've never been before and i hear its awesome. enjoy the ride and if you find yourself in a tight spot – hold your breath!

    October 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Adam

    supremeamerican...uh, plants consume CO2 and produce oxygen. No wonder you can't understand global warming.

    October 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
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