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Arctic continues to warm, break records


Greenland had a rare, abnormally large ice sheet melt in July (courtesy: Rear Admiral Harley D. Nygren/ NOAA)
Greenland had a rare, abnormally large ice sheet melt in July (courtesy: Rear Admiral Harley D. Nygren/ NOAA)

Greg Hanna, staff writer

December 6, 2012 — The Arctic has been warming for years, and 2012 is no exception.

Despite the record-breaking conditions, air temperatures in the Arctic have been consistent for 10 years (courtesy: Rear Admiral Harley D. Nygren/ NOAA)
Despite the record-breaking conditions, air temperatures in the Arctic have been consistent for 10 years (courtesy: Rear Admiral Harley D. Nygren/ NOAA)

According to NOAA, records have been broken with the loss of summer sea ice, spring snow cover, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

Jane Lubchenco, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, said during a press briefing that we must expect the unexpected from the Arctic.

“The Arctic is changing in both predictable and unpredictable ways, so we must expect surprises,” said Lubchenco.

“The Arctic is an extremely sensitive part of the world and with the warming scientists have observed, we see the results with less snow and sea ice, greater ice sheet melt and changing vegetation.”

The findings were included in the annual update of the Arctic Report Card, which has summarized the quickly changing conditions in the Arctic since 2006. Among the records broken, minimum Arctic sea ice extent in September 2012 set a new all-time record low.

In Greenland, there was a rare, abnormally large ice sheet melt in July, which covered roughly 97 percent of the ice sheet on a single day. Most of the prominent weather events so far this year have included an unusual cold spell in late January to early February across Eurasia, and a record storm with strong winds north of Alaska in August.

Despite the record-breaking conditions, air temperatures in the Arctic have been consistent for the past decade.

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