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'Warm wind' hits Arctic climate


"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.

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New Arctic 'Report Card' Shows Continued Warming

An international team of scientists, including a NOAA lead author, prepared the "Report Card." Richard Spinrad, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research noted: "The Arctic is an extraordinarily interconnected region, so what happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic. There will be significant environmental effects throughout the globe resulting from changes in the Arctic. This annual update provides key information to decision makers and the scientific community on changes that are taking place in the Arctic now."

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."

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