In the station climatology figure above, the Centrale plot is representative of the high Greenland Ice Sheet. This begins a feedback, as melting snow reflects less solar radiation (50% to 60%) than dry snow, allowing more energy to be absorbed and the melting to take place faster. But in a matter of decades -- a blink of an eye in the history of this planet -- human-caused global warming has transformed the Arctic into a place that scientists say is increasingly unrecognizable. Scientists say the Arctic is a bellwether for the global climate. Another interesting use of models has been to use them, along with historical data, to produce a best estimate of the weather conditions over the entire globe during the last 50 years, filling in regions where no observations were made (ECMWF). Despite its location centered on the North Pole, and the long period of darkness this brings, this is not the coldest part of the Arctic. The Soviet navy also operated in the Arctic, including a sailing of the nuclear-powered ice breaker Arktika to the North Pole in 1977, the first time a surface ship reached the pole. Variations in cloud cover can cause significant variations in the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface at locations with the same latitude. As with the rest of the planet, the climate in the Arctic has changed throughout time. By the end of the 21st century, the annual average temperature in the Arctic is predicted to increase by 2.8 to 7.8 °C (5.0 to 14.0 °F), with more warming in winter (4.3 to 11.4 °C (7.7 to 20.5 °F)) than in summer.  Decreases in sea-ice extent and thickness are expected to continue over the next century, with some models predicting the Arctic Ocean will be free of sea ice in late summer by the mid to late part of the century. The rest of the seas have ice cover for some part of the winter and spring, but lose that ice during the summer. On the Pacific side they average 6 to 9 m/s (22 to 32 km/h (14 to 20 mph) year round. This region is located north of the Arctic Circle and the tree line. The extensive array of satellite-based remote-sensing instruments now in orbit has helped to replace some of the observations that were lost after the Cold War, and has provided coverage that was impossible without them. Most of the Basin receives less than 250 mm (9.8 in) of precipitation per year, qualifying it as a desert. Since 2000, the Arctic has warmed more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, the report says. These regions have summer temperatures between about 0 and 8 °C (32 and 46 °F). The parts of the Basin just north of Svalbard and the Taymyr Peninsula are exceptions to the general description just given. Most Arctic seas are covered by ice for part of the year (see the map in the sea-ice section below); 'ice-free' here refers to those which are not covered year-round. The small daily temperature range (the length of the vertical bars) results from the fact that the sun's elevation above the horizon does not change much or at all in this region during one day. The mountains are located in the far northwest border. Third, because the Arctic temperature structure inhibits vertical air motions, the depth of the atmospheric layer that has to warm in order to cause warming of near-surface air is much shallower in the Arctic than in the tropics. The southern third of Greenland protrudes into the North-Atlantic storm track, a region frequently influenced by cyclones. Furthermore, most of the small amount of solar radiation that reaches the surface is reflected away by the bright snow cover. In most of the Arctic the significant snow melt begins in late May or sometime in June. This map shows the location of Arctic research facilities during the mid-1970s and the tracks of drifting stations between 1958 and 1975. This record was lengthened in the early 1990s when two deeper cores were taken from near the center of the Greenland Ice Sheet. One of the better known: the continually shrinking summer sea-ice extent in the Arctic. These pieces of software are sometimes relatively simple, but often become highly complex as scientists try to include more and more elements of the environment to make the results more realistic. These data became available after the Cold War, and have provided evidence of thinning of the Arctic sea ice. Because of this, the region never receives direct sunlight, but instead gets rays indirectly and thus gets less solar radiation. Sea ice freezes in winter and melts during summer, and this year's summer minimum extent was the second-lowest ever observed in the 42-year satellite record, according to the report. In addition the length of each day, which is determined by the season, has a significant impact on the climate. On the June solstice 36% more solar radiation reaches the top of the atmosphere over the course of the day at the North Pole than at the Equator. Temperature proxies suggest that over the last 8000 years the climate has been stable, with globally averaged temperature variations of less than about 1 °C (34 °F); (see Paleoclimate). Despite the low precipitation totals in winter, precipitation frequency is higher in January, when 25% to 35% of observations reported precipitation, than in July, when 20% to 25% of observations reported precipitation (Serreze and Barry 2005). , During all seasons, the strongest average winds are found in the North-Atlantic seas, Baffin Bay, and Bering and Chukchi Seas, where cyclone activity is most common.  Another significant moment in Arctic observing before World War II occurred in 1937 when the USSR established the first of over 30 North-Pole drifting stations. "But the rate of change we've seen in the last 20 years -- and especially the last five years -- is beyond what we thought would happen.". Likewise, in the beginning of September both the northern and southern land areas receive their winter snow cover, which combined with the reduced solar radiation at the surface, ensures an end to the warm days those areas may experience in summer. People think of the Arctic as a very icy, snowy place. To define the normal climate, we have to take 30 years of temperature data. At its maximum extent, in March, sea ice covers about 15 million km² (5.8 million sq mi) of the Northern Hemisphere, nearly as much area as the largest country, Russia.. On the Atlantic side, the winds are strongest in winter, averaging 7 to 12 m/s (25 to 43 km/h (16 to 27 mph), and weakest in summer, averaging 5 to 7 m/s (18 to 25 km/h (11 to 16 mph). Between 1947 and 1957, the United States and Canadian governments established a chain of stations along the Arctic coast known as the Distant Early Warning Line (DEWLINE) to provide warning of a Soviet nuclear attack. The Arctic Basin is typically covered by sea ice year round, which strongly influences its summer temperatures. Hot off the tundra, a new report breathlessly hyped by the New York Times' "Climate Fwd." It is now no longer a question of "if" we will see an ice-free Arctic in the new few decades -- it is "when," said Walt Meier, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center and a co-author of the sea ice section of this year's Arctic Report Card. But last year saw another near-record-low sea ice extent, another sign that this air conditioner is breaking down, scientists say. Much of the precipitation reported in winter is very light, possibly diamond dust. He decided to use this motion by freezing a specially designed ship, the Fram, into the sea ice and allowing it to be carried across the ocean. The report found that the past year was yet another abnormally hot one in most of the region. On Monday, a study of Arctic conditions was published saying the Arctic region has started to transition into a new climate regime altogether. Climate change is an overriding factor, affecting all aspects of life in the Arctic, yet the GHG emissions responsible for recent warming emanate from industrial activity and land use changes far removed from the region. Second, because colder air holds less water vapour than warmer air, in the Arctic, a greater fraction of any increase in radiation absorbed by the surface goes directly into warming the atmosphere, whereas in the tropics, a greater fraction goes into evaporation. Treshnikov), 1985: This page was last edited on 22 December 2020, at 16:17. In winter, the heat transferred from the −2 °C (28 °F) water through cracks in the ice and areas of open water helps to moderate the climate some, keeping average winter temperatures around −30 to −35 °C (−22 to −31 °F). On average, these motions carry sea ice from the Russian side of the Arctic Ocean into the Atlantic Ocean through the area east of Greenland, while they cause the ice on the North American side to rotate clockwise, sometimes for many years. Thirty summers = thirty numbers, is used. The period between October 2019 and September 2020 was the second-hottest year in the last century for the Arctic, with surface temperatures 1.9 degrees Celsius (3.42 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the 1981 to 2010 average. In winter, the Canadian Archipelago experiences temperatures similar to those in the Arctic Basin, but in the summer months of June to August, the presence of so much land in this region allows it to warm more than the ice-covered Arctic Basin. An earlier climatology of temperatures in the Arctic, based entirely on available data, is shown in this map from the CIA Polar Regions Atlas.. The Greenland Ice Sheet covers about 80% of Greenland, extending to the coast in places, and has an average elevation of 2,100 m (6,900 ft) and a maximum elevation of 3,200 m (10,500 ft). The warming and resultant longer open water periods suggest a potential for expansion of marine vegetation along the vast Arctic coastline. This program operated continuously, with 30 stations in the Arctic from 1950 to 1991. Low spring and summer cloud frequency and the high elevation, which reduces the amount of solar radiation absorbed or scattered by the atmosphere, combine to give this region the most incoming solar radiation at the surface out of anywhere in the Arctic. It's warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe, seeing some of the world's first climate displaced communities. Another effect of a warmer climate is that the Arctic is growing greener. Differences in surface albedo due for example to presence or absence of snow and ice strongly affect the fraction of the solar radiation reaching the surface that is reflected rather than absorbed. There is no single correct definition of the region as the southern boundary varies. Accurate climatologies of precipitation amount are more difficult to compile for the Arctic than climatologies of other variables such as temperature and pressure. "But now, if I have a reasonably average lifespan, then I'll probably live to see it, which is really stark in my view in terms of how fast things have changed.". Much of the ice sheet remains below freezing all year, and it has the coldest climate of any part of the Arctic. Annual precipitation totals in the Canadian Archipelago increase dramatically from north to south. There are different definitions of the Arctic. By July and August, most of the land is bare and absorbs more than 80% of the sun's energy that reaches the surface. The climate of the Arctic is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers. While much of the region does experience very low temperatures, there is considerable variability with both location and season. They are also used to try to predict future climate and the effect that changes to the atmosphere caused by humans may have on the Arctic and beyond. More precipitation falls in winter, when the storm track is most active, than in summer. Though the report found that the duration of snow cover was roughly normal over much of the Arctic, snow cover over huge swaths of Siberia melted as much as a month early, owing to temperatures that were more than 5 degrees Celsius above average.  These orbital changes led to a cold period known as the little ice age during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Stronger winds do occur in storms, often causing whiteout conditions, but they rarely exceed 25 m/s (90 km/h (56 mph) in these areas. Unusual clear periods can lead to increased sea-ice melt or higher temperatures (NSIDC). The Bering Sea is influenced by the North Pacific storm track, and has annual precipitation totals between 400 and 800 mm (16 and 31 in), also with a winter maximum. , According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), "warming of the climate system is unequivocal", and the global-mean temperature has increased by 0.6 to 0.9 °C (1.1 to 1.6 °F) over the last century.  Serreze, Mark C. and Roger Graham Barry, 2005: ocean surrounding the North Pole was ice-free, summer sea ice transitions through spring thaw, summer melt ponds, and autumn freeze-up, "Representation of Mean Arctic Precipitation from NCEP–NCAR and ERA Reanalyses", 10.1175/1520-0442(2000)013<0182:ROMAPF>2.0.CO;2, Aerosols May Drive a Significant Portion of Arctic Warming, "Studies of the Arctic Suggest a Dire Situation", Video on Climate Research in the Bering Sea, The Future of Arctic Climate and Global Impacts, How Climate Change Is Growing Forests in the Arctic, Arctic Ice Caps May Be More Prone to Melt; A new core pulled from Siberia reveals a 2.8-million-year history of warming and cooling, Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Effects of global warming on marine mammals, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Climate_of_the_Arctic&oldid=995732263, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2018, Wikipedia articles that may have off-topic sections from July 2018, All articles that may have off-topic sections, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, The Arctic Basin includes the Arctic Ocean within the average minimum extent of sea ice, The entire island of Greenland, although its, The Arctic waters that are not sea ice in late summer, including. As the planet heats up due to human emissions of greenhouse gases, the effects of that warming are felt here first -- and foreshadow the changes to come in lower latitude climates. The IPCC also indicate that, over the last 100 years, the annually averaged temperature in the Arctic has increased by almost twice as much as the global mean temperature has. The only regions that remain ice-free throughout the year are the southern part of the Barents Sea and most of the Norwegian Sea. Typically some falling snow is kept from entering precipitation gauges by winds, causing an underreporting of precipitation amounts in regions that receive a large fraction of their precipitation as snowfall. Stroeve, J., Holland, M.M., Meier, W., Scambos, T. and Serreze, M., 2007. Almost all of the energy available to the Earth's surface and atmosphere comes from the sun in the form of solar radiation (light from the sun, including invisible ultraviolet and infrared light). Sea ice is frozen sea water that floats on the ocean's surface.  Samples from ice cores, tree rings and lake sediments from 23 sites were used by the team, led by Darrell Kaufman of Northern Arizona University, to provide snapshots of the changing climate. These provided knowledge of perhaps the most extreme climate of the Arctic, and also the first suggestion that the ice sheet lies in a depression of the bedrock below (now known to be caused by the weight of the ice itself). Fourth, a reduction in sea-ice extent will lead to more energy being transferred from the warm ocean to the atmosphere, enhancing the warming. The northern islands receive similar amounts, with a similar annual cycle, to the central Arctic Basin. Arctic days lengthen rapidly in March and April, and the sun rises higher in the sky, both bringing more solar radiation to the Arctic than in winter. In addition to serving as a vital habitat for polar bears and walruses, the Arctic's sea ice is a key part of the planet's air-conditioning system, reflecting the sun's energy back into space and keeping temperatures around the North Pole cool. The result is winter temperatures that are lower than anywhere else in the Arctic, with average January temperatures of −45 to −30 °C (−49 to −22 °F), depending on location and on which data set is viewed. In the early 1930s the first significant meteorological studies were carried out on the interior of the Greenland ice sheet. Almost all of the energy available to the Earth's surface and atmosphere comes from the sun in the form of solar radiation (light from the sun, including invisible ultraviolet and infrared light).  However, during the last 100 years temperatures have been rising, despite the fact that the continued changes in earth's orbit would have driven further cooling. In July, 40% to 60% of observations reporting precipitation indicate it was frozen (Serreze and Barry 2005). Climatically, Greenland is divided into two very separate regions: the coastal region, much of which is ice free, and the inland ice sheet. Arctic Climate Change Context- Our climate is already changing, particularly in the Arctic where permafrost is melting, glaciers are receding, and sea ice is disappearing. The climate in the arctic is very extreme. The largest temperature increases are in the Arctic and the Antarctic Peninsula. The Arctic region's climate is very cold and harsh for most of the year due to the Earth's axial tilt. From shrinking sea ice and melting on Greenland's ice sheet, to permafrost thaw and even shifts in species distributions, many of the changes observed across the Arctic are being driven by increased air temperatures, Overland said. The first major effort by Europeans to study the meteorology of the Arctic was the First International Polar Year (IPY) in 1882 to 1883. But that too is changing, as warming leads to declines in both the area of land and length of time that it is buried in snow. In the figure below showing station climatologies, the plot for Yakutsk is representative of this part of the Far East; Yakutsk has a slightly less extreme climate than Verkhoyansk. Around the edges of the Arctic Ocean the ice will melt and break up, exposing the ocean water, which absorbs almost all of the solar radiation that reaches it, storing the energy in the water column.  Geologists were able to track the summer Arctic temperatures as far back as the time of the Romans by studying natural signals in the landscape. Finally, changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns caused by a global temperature change may cause more heat to be transferred to the Arctic, enhancing Arctic warming. It shows the average temperature in the coldest months is in the −30s, and the temperature rises rapidly from April to May; July is the warmest month, and the narrowing of the maximum and minimum temperature lines shows the temperature does not vary far from freezing in the middle of summer; from August through December the temperature drops steadily.
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