Arctic Temperatures Are Rising Twice As Fast As Anywhere Else On Earth

Illustration for article titled Arctic Temperatures Are Rising Twice As Fast As Anywhere Else On Earth

A comprehensive review of the state of the Arctic reveals some troubling information about rising temperature rates, which are more than double those of anywhere else on Earth, as well as some strange new habitat changes for polar bears.

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NOAA has released its Arctic Report Card, which analyzes the current state of the Arctic region, from a climate, vegetation, and wildlife perspective. Among the findings is that the planet-wide warming trend is even more pronounced in the Arctic for sea temperatures and especially in Arctic air temperatures, which are rising twice as fast as any other spot on Earth, a phenomenon called "Arctic amplification."

Another notable finding from the report notes that, while the polar bear population is on the decline, that decline is uneven, with some areas being hit much harder than others — and, in one region, there's even a rise. Researchers put together this map to look at the shifting habitats of the polar bear:

Illustration for article titled Arctic Temperatures Are Rising Twice As Fast As Anywhere Else On Earth
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You can check out the whole report right here.

Top image: Sea ice retreat in the Bering sea, leading to increased phytoplankton blooms / NOAA; Map: Shifting polar bear habitats / NOAA

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DISCUSSION

One of the predictions of anthropogenic global warming, caused by an increased greenhouse effect through increased amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, is that polar regions would show more warming than lower latitude regions.

So this is one of those examples of how science can accurately make predictions about future events. To further extrapolate, eventually the Earth gets to a point where latitudinal temperature gradients, which right now are high, are very decreased. But this would take a lot more warming than what has already happened. We won't get crocodiles in the Arctic again unless we really, really, really, try.