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Arctic Report Card 2023: Key Highlights


Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its 18th Annual Arctic Report Card, highlighting the profound impact of extreme weather and Climate Events on the Arctic.


GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Arctic Report Card 2023: Key Highlights
  2. About Arctic and Arctic Report Card

Arctic Report Card 2023: Key Highlights

Record Summer Warmth:
  • The Arctic experienced its warmest summer on record in 2023.
  • The region has warmed nearly four times faster than the global average since 1979.
  • Ranked as the sixth warmest year in the Arctic since 1900.
Impact of Extreme Weather:
  • Unprecedented wildfires, leading to evacuations, decline in sea ice extent, severe floods, food insecurity, and rising sea levels.
  • Direct consequences on ecosystems, human health, and cultural practices.
Thawing Permafrost and Greenhouse Gas Release:
  • Warmer ocean temperatures accelerating subsea permafrost thaw, releasing methane and carbon dioxide.
  • Concerns about the unknown extent and impact of released greenhouse gases.
Decline in Salmon Populations:
  • Western Alaska saw significant reductions in Chinook and chum salmon populations.
  • Impacts Indigenous communities with cultural, food security, and economic implications.
Worst Wildfire Season in Canada:
  • Canada experienced its worst wildfire season, affecting 40% of Arctic and Northern lands.
  • Over 10 million acres burned in the Northwest Territories, leading to evacuations and air quality issues.
Mendenhall Glacier Thinning and Flooding:
  • Dramatic thinning of Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier over the past two decades.
  • Glacier meltwater causing annual floods, with a notable event in August 2023 causing severe property damage.
Greenland Ice Sheet Melting:
  • Greenland’s ice sheet melted for the fifth time in 34 years.
  • Despite above-average winter snow accumulation, the ice sheet lost approximately 350 trillion pounds of mass between August 2022 and September 2023.
  • Significant contributor to sea-level rise.

About Arctic and Arctic Report Card

  • The Arctic is the northernmost polar region on Earth, characterized by seasonally changing snow and ice cover on its land.
  • This expansive area includes the Arctic Ocean, surrounding seas, and portions of Alaska (United States), Canada, Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.
Arctic Report Card
  • The Arctic Report Card, issued annually since 2006, serves as a timely and peer-reviewed resource.
  • Providing clear, reliable, and concise information, it offers insights into the current state of various Arctic environmental components compared to historical records.
  • This report is a valuable reference for understanding the ongoing changes in the Arctic environmental system.

-Source: Indian Express

February 2024