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Vast wildfires in Siberia linked to warming Arctic

Arctic Report Card
Posted at 12:33 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 15:33:55-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new report shows how warming temperatures in the Arctic transform the region's geography and ecosystems. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's annual Arctic Report Card was published Tuesday.

The report shows that the past year - from October 2019 to September 2020 - was the second warmest on record in the Arctic, the report said.

The extent of snow on the ground in June across the Eurasian Arctic was the lowest recorded in 54 years.

Satellites recorded the second-lowest end of summer sea ice extent in the ocean since record-keeping began 42 years ago, the report stated.

According to the report - from September 2019 to August 2020 - the Greenland ice sheet experienced an ice loss higher than the 1981-2010 average but substantially lower than the 2018-19 record.

"Abnormal cyclonic atmospheric circulation centered over Greenland promoted normal or colder-than-average conditions for the interior and east, with higher air temperatures in the north, southwest, and many coastal regions," researchers who contributed to the report stated.

The report also added that extreme wildfires in the Sakha Republic of northern Russia this year "coincided with unparalleled warm air temperatures and record snow loss in the region."

According to the Associated Press, the report from last year included for the first time essays and research contributed by the Arctic's Indigenous communities. But this year, collaboration was not made possible due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.