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Arctic Warming Cascades Through Ocean and Over Land, U.S. Report Says

Dec 08, 2020   |   Reuters

A Reuters article about the 15th Annual U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Arctic Report Card quotes Professor Donald Perovich.

"'When the report card started 15 years ago, I wrote about how low [sea ice extent] was then. But I’d trade that low for what we’re seeing now any day,' said co-author Donald Perovich, a sea ice geophysicist at Dartmouth University. The September average extent this year was 3.9 million square kilometers. In 2005, it was 5.6 million square kilometers.

"The sea ice is also thinner, younger and more fragile and vanishing sea ice is leading to warmer Arctic waters, the report said, as sunlight permeated the ocean rather than bouncing off the white surface of ice.

"Mean sea-surface temperatures in the Arctic Ocean in August were 1 degree to 3 degrees Celsius above the 1982-to-2010 average, the report said, with 'exceptionally warm' temperatures seen in the Laptev and Kara seas off Russia early in the year.

"'We’re starting to see more of these feedbacks,' Perovich told Reuters. Research on the Arctic now 'is more than an intellectual exercise in understanding nature. These changes are having consequences for people living today.'"