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. TLL

    Sure looks like the arctic is growing. Icelands glaciers are growing, Greenlands glaciers seem to be moving more towards the eastern portion.

    Glaciers are growing in some areas and melting in others. Seems like more of a shift in temperature areas.

    October 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ihaterepublicans

      You need to buy new reading glasses dude!

      October 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Benjamin

    Supremeamerican keeps bringing up the same point despite it being incredibly misleading. Plants DO give off carbon dioxide at night through respiration. Given the number of plants on earth, this adds up to quite a large volume. BUT plants mainly consume carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and release oxygen. The amount of CO2 consumed is greater than that produced.

    October 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Johnny Five

    This is normal. Greenland was once warm. It's where the vikings lived and mingled. It's where tons of gold and artifacts are.

    It will be warm again there soon. It will be cold again there in the future. It's the way the Earth is.

    P.S. Those living in Alaska and Russia will be the new North Pole. Get your blankets.

    I'm not kidding.

    Our pole is changing. Nothing more.

    October 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nick2

      In the long run you are quite correct. We have recorded at least 3 ice-ages on Earth. However, with each one comes a virtual extinction of almost all the species of life. Human life is one of the more fragile evolutions since it has become so dependent on artifice – medications, other species, and factory farming. With another ice-age it is extremely likely that the human race will rapidly become extinct.

      October 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Other factors

    The media is focusing on C02 emissions, but we're also in the midst of a unique solar cycle where there is fewer/less sunspots than in the last 200+ years...this significantly suprisses solar radiation. Also the interesting fact that during the 9/11 no-fly period that the lack of jet contrails increased the average lower level atmospheric temperature more than 1C. There are many factors and I think that there are those on both sides that don't necessarily see the big picture.

    October 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • AbBcC

      You do realize that reduced sunspot activity has been suppressing the temperature effects of athropogenic climate change, right? Not the other way around.

      October 22, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John K

    Why does the picture accompanying this article show the minimum extent of sea ice for 2009? We have just passed the minimum sea ice extent for 2010.

    October 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Vote Republican and all this global climate change will just go away. Silly liberals and their fancy microwave satellites are ruining this country. Besides, Greenland is looking forward to all their ice melting because they will be able to get to their oil more easily and start a bunch of drilling. And it's more economical for the Russians to start drilling in the Arctic now that they don't need huge ice breakers to make their way to the drilling locations. NOAA - bah! Just enjoy your SUVs people – and vote Republican.

    October 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Reality

      Bravo Roger!

      October 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    OMG ! it is winter and it might snow. I'll be ready, lots of sweaters and snow shovels.
    we only had 109" of snow last year and the weather folks were talking big in Oct. 2009 as well.
    growing up in the 1960 it was normal to have 300" of snow a year.
    It is called winter and it snows in winter, big whoop!

    October 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. JOSH

    I think the S**T load of oil that BP dumped into the gulf, probably helped out with this whole global warming thing.

    October 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chopswell

      But wait! NOAA says it's ALL GONE now....so no. You MUST be wrong! *Whew!* And I thought all that oil was going to cause some big problems! Thankfully though, for NOAA, it's DISAPPEARED and we'll all be fine.

      October 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. R

    Assume we are in a natural warming trend. That is fine. But to assume that the increase in the release changes in CO2 caused by human development over the last 100 years somehow has no incremental impact on the cycle seems myopic. If you add salt to water it impacts the boiling point. We have incrementally released a lot of CO2 over the last century that was previously buried or captured in wood. Additionally we have reduced O2 production through the same period. I just don't understand how it can be viewed that we have so little impact on the enviromnment. The world is really not that big.

    October 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. MAC

    I wish the studies that reveal findings that suggest this these fluctuations are not limited to our planet received some coverage. These effects are currently being witnessed throughout our solar system. The media needs to stop trying to instill fear in the people.

    October 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. camarao

    If they say that is is the warmest since a certain date in history, dont people realize that this is a cycle..the earth I mean. We have decades of hot, decades of cold etc..it is seen in rings on trees. Only now, for either political or money reasons, everyone is trying to make this an event. This is the way the world has always been...

    October 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. MikeRI

    Well, MAC, the media needs something to do with 27 full time news stations. Can't all be about puppies and kittens and earn your ratings, you know.

    October 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. W99

    Serious stuff. I always wonder though, with that much ice returning to the seas as water every year, then refreezing in some capacity, why are we not seeing more fluctuation in sea levels at at least a noticeable rise when the glacier melt and Antarctic melting is factored in. I live at the sea and have seen little difference the past ten years. – W99

    October 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Carl

    far sided? presumptious. antartic? Seriously? You three need to go back to school, along with a few other posters

    If you IDIOTS would at least spell correctly, it would, at least, make you seem more authoritative, and not the buffoons that you appear to be.

    Which leads me to wonder: how can climate change be man-made when our nation's bloggers are so STUPID? OOPS, oxymoron, sorry.

    For those who don't get it:
    far sighted, presumptuous, Antarctic

    October 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Sam342

    Global warning or not. We really do need to step up and take better care of this planet.

    October 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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