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News of Climate Change

A new report by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that the temperatures in the Arctic are increasing at twice the rate of global air temperatures.

Sixty three researchers from 13 countries contributed to the Arctic report card, which stated that the rise in temperature was a major indicator of global warming and it could also be influencing weather patterns in other regions. The report also found connections between Arctic and mid-latitude weather patterns. The report states that warm winter in Alaska and northern Europe and the brutal cold that was seen in the eastern part of U.S. were result of the warming of temperatures in Arctic. The warming of Arctic is also causing the spring snow cover and summer ice to rapidly melt, which in turn is eroding the natural habitat of polar bears. The researchers have called the process ‘Arctic Amplification’. In this process there is rapid loss of snow and the sea ice that allows more sun (which otherwise would be reflected back into the atmosphere) to reach the surface and warm the soil further. Craig McLean, acting assistant administrator for the NOAA Research, said, “Arctic warming is setting off changes that affect people and the environment in this fragile region, and has broader effects beyond the Arctic on global security, trade, and climate.” According to the report, Arctic was warmer in the past five years than it was during the last two decades. Alaska saw unusually high temperatures, which were 18 degrees higher than their monthly average temperatures. Snow cover has reached historic low averages. The seas are getting warmer. Polar bears, who have been listed as endangered species, are finding it difficult to survive in their declining habitat. Even though their population is currently stabilized, environmentalists believe that in the coming years they could be seriously affected. However, the warming of seas is helping vegetation and smaller organisms to grow. The warming of seas is reducing sea ice, which is allowing more and more sunlight to reach the upper layer of seawater. This is increasing photosynthesis, which is helping in the increase of phytoplankton that is a microscopic marine plant. They form the base of the food chain for fish and marine animals.

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