Arctic Report Card Shows Failing Grades

Mike Schuler
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October 16, 2008


The Arctic Report Card is a yearly report released by NOAA’s Climate Program Office that tracks the Arctic atmosphere, sea ice, biology, ocean, land and Greenland.  The report card provides clear, reliable and concise information on recent observations of environmental conditions in the Arctic, relative to historical time series records.

This year’s report card received less than stellar grades with 3 of the 6 area’s (atmosphere, sea ice, and Greenland) coded in red.  This means changes are strongly attributed to warming.  The remaining 3 areas (biology, ocean, and land), are all coded in yellow, meaning they have mixed signals.  Last years report card showed only two red areas and four yellow areas.

Code Red determining factors:

  • Atmosphere: 5° C temperature increases were recorded in autumn
  • Sea Ice: Near-record minimum summer sea ice extent
  • Greenland: records set in both the duration and extent of summer surface melt

Code Yellow determining factors:

  • Biology: Fisheries and marine mammals impacted by loss of sea ice
  • Ocean: Observed increase in temperature of surface and deep ocean layers
  • Land: Permafrost temperatures tend to increase, while snow extent tends to decrease

Download the full 2008 Arctic Report Card (PDF)

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