The Arctic is changing, and not for the better. It is getting warmer and greener every year, and the latest NOAA Arctic Report Card has found 2020 to be another year where the transformation continues.
According to the report, the sea ice level was the second-lowest in history, in August the temperatures were 1.3ºC warmer than normal, wildfires are occurring, ice sheets are melting, and many other findings paint a similar picture.
As the world continues to warm, the arctic will change. It will have a serious impact on the rest of the world.
Abnormally Hot or the New Norm?
This year joins the ranks of the abnormally hot years in the arctic. In particular, Siberia experienced record-breaking temperatures this year for a prolonged period of time. And even saw it’s no longer frozen forests set ablaze by zombie fires.
But is it the new norm?
The temperatures have risen in the last decade, twice as fast as the rest of the world, and it’s done damage. This is now the second warmest year on record for the arctic, with 2016 being the previous record holder.
The snow is melting and plants are growing, the arctic has undergone a transformation faster than anyone could have predicted.
Impact on the Planet
The Arctic was often called the “air conditioner of the planet” because the snow-filled fields and ice sheets would reflect the Sun’s rays, keeping the world cool. However, as that vanishes, so does the cooling effect.
The planet may now begin getting warmer at a faster rate because less of the Sun’s rays are being reflected.
Thus the entire situation is getting worse at a much faster pace.
And the most impactful effect is the ice melting. This is the source of rising sea levels and as the ice continues to melt at an accelerated rate, it’s getting worse.