"It looks like the beginning of a signal from global warming." James Overland,
US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The Arctic is being hit by melting ice, hotter air and dying wildlife, according to a US government report on the impact of global warming there.
A new wind circulation pattern is blowing more warm air towards the North Pole than in the 20th Century, scientists found.
Shrubs are now growing in tundra areas while caribou herds are dwindling in Canada and parts of Alaska.
The report stresses that the fate of the Arctic affects the entire planet.
An international team of research scientists created a peer-reviewed web site: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/, which tracks multiple changes in the Arctic environment. Their findings confirm earlier studies, indicating that "relative to amounts of Arctic sea ice in the 1980s, the region lost almost 40 percent of the summertime sea ice in the central Arctic in 2007."