Global warming is causing the Arctic to warm up

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Antarctica
An Adelie penguin stands atop a block of melting ice near the French station at Dumont d’Urville in East Antarctica January 23, 2010 Reuters/Pauline Askin

Global warming is having a severe impact on the Arctic, causing air temperatures over it to be the highest since 1900.

The 2015 Arctic Report Card, a project sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows the state of weather, sea ice, snow cover and marine and wildlife habitat in the Arctic and subarctic. The report reveals how these elements have changed as the region continues to warm at about twice the global pace.

Surface air temperatures over the Arctic have climbed 5.2 degrees Fahrenheit since the beginning of the 20th Century--more than twice the level of warming experienced elsewhere on Earth, reports Discovery News.

According to the Alaska Dispatch News (ADC), as the climate warms, there is rapid change in the circumpolar north.  Air temperatures over the Arctic landscape were higher over the past year than at any other time since 1900.

“We know this is due to climate change. And its impacts are creating major challenges for Arctic communities who depend on the region for sustenance and cultural identity,” says Rick Spinrad, NOAA’s chief scientist, according to the ADC.

Spinrad says that one can, in fact, argue that the the trailing indicators of the Arctic are actually the leading indicators for the rest of the planet. Arctic change, he says, affects the global climate as well as international security.

The 2015 Arctic Report Card is the 10th annual report, authored by 72 scientists from 11 nations. The annual report comes days after the historic Paris accord on climate change, where 196 countries committed themselves to limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

“If the globe goes to 2-degree warming, we’re looking at a 4- or 5-degree warming for the winter in the Arctic by 2040, 2050,” says Jim Overland, a NOAA oceanographer. That is based upon the CO2 that we’ve already put into the atmosphere and will be putting in for the next 20 years, he explains.

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