NOAA, Arctic Council Release 2013 Arctic Report Card

artic-report-card12 December 2013: The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with the support of two working groups of the Arctic Council, has released the 2013 update to the Arctic Report Card. The Report Card has been published since 2006 and tracks environmental changes in the region, including with regard to the atmosphere, sea ice and ocean, marine ecosystems, terrestrial ecosystems and the terrestrial cryosphere. 

The report card concludes that, though not to the same extreme as last year, the Arctic continues to show evidence of a shift to a warmer, greener state in 2013.

In particular, 2013 recorded that: since observations began in 1982, Arctic-wide tundra vegetation productivity has increased, with the growing season length increasing by nine days each decade; caribou and reindeer herds continue to have unusually low numbers; a record low snow cover was reached in May over Eurasia; and the extent of sea ice in September was the sixth lowest since observations began in 1979.

For the first time, the report card includes information on marine fishes and fisheries and black carbon, highlighting that: the long-term warming trend is believed to be contributing to the northward migration into the Arctic of some fish such as Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic cod, capelin, eelpout, sculpin and salmonids; and black carbon originating from outside the Arctic has decreased by 55 per cent since the early 1990s.

For this year's issue, the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) developed and edited the terrestrial and marine ecosystem chapters in cooperation with others, while the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) organized an independent peer-review process involving international experts. [Publication: Arctic Report Card: Update for 2013] [IISD RS Story on 2012 Report Card]