From this year’s Arctic Report Card, an assessment published every year by the U. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Despite relatively cool summer temperatures, observations in 2017 continue to indicate that the Arctic environmental system has reached a ‘new normal’, characterized by long-term losses in the extent and thickness of the sea ice cover, the extent and duration of the winter snow cover and the mass of ice in the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic glaciers, and warming sea surface and permafrost temperatures.
“The Arctic is going through the most unprecedented transition in human history, and we need better observations to understand and predict how these changes will affect everyone, not just the people of the north,” said Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA’s Arctic Research Program.
These proxy records are needed because accurate monitoring of climatic factors extends no farther back than the late 1800s.
The graph above reveals what these proxy records along with modern monitoring reveal about the history of Arctic climate change over the past 1,500 years.
The 85 scientists who published the peer-reviewed Arctic Report Card synthesized research from multiple sources.
The section devoted to comparing today’s observed climate shifts to changes that occurred in the past is based in part on paleoclimate research using what scientists call “proxy records.” These include tree-ring records, and chemical fingerprints locked within cores drilled from ice sheets, lake sediments, and the seafloor.
His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications.
He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine.
Speaking at the American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans yesterday, he was quoted by Chris Mooney in the Washington Post.
In other words, changes occurring in the Arctic aren’t of concern just to people living in the high north.
There are also implications for fisheries, ships and naval submarines having to dodge ice floes — and geopolitics as well.