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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Arctic Report Card

Arctic Report Card

2023 Arctic temperature records (credit: NOAA/Arctic Report Card)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminitration (NOAA) has issued its 18th 'report card' on the Arctic. According to the Agency, the Arctic climate and environment continues to evolve rapidly due to by human activities that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The situation is pushing ecosystems into uncharted territory. This year’s edition provides the current situation in the Arctic by checking on multiple 'vital signs'. Most of them are flashing red. NOAA offers new data showing the region is warming four times (4x) faster than any where else on Earth.

The 2023 report noted substantial environmental changes including:

average Arctic air temperatures were the 6th warmest since 1900 with Summer temperatures the warmest on record; Sea ice extent continues to decline with Septembers being the lowest on record; heavy rainfall events broke records across the Arctic including on Greenland's ice cap; in June Greenland's Summit Station, located at 10,000 feet in elevation on the ice, saw temperatures reach above freezing and experienced melting for only the 5th time in 34 years of observational history; Greenland's Ice Sheet lost nearly 350 trillion pounds of ice between September 1, 2022 and August 31, 2023 with water discharges and melting exceeding annual snow accumulation; and circumpolar measurements of tundra greening, the overall vegetation cover of trees and shrubs invading the tundra, was the 3rd highest in 24 years of satellite records.

NOAA summarized their data by saying: The Arctic is increasingly warmer, less frozen, and wetter, with regional extremes in weather, climate patterns, and ecosystem responses. 

                  Notable events and important topics from across the Arctic. (credit: NOAA)

A video was produced to highlight information detailed in their annual report.

Across the region, local and international partnerships were used to gather data and to offer solutions to Arctic communities with practical ways of coping with a rapidly changing environment. A 'rewilding' program in Finland was featured as one example at the forefront of restoring landscapes to ecological health. The Finnish non-profit Snowchange Cooperative was also recognized with a 2023 Goldman environmental prize for their pioneering efforts in peatland recovery.

This complete Arctic Report Card for 2023 can be read here. WHB

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