WE’RE MELTING

Arctic Has Experienced Five Hottest Years on Record

The Arctic has experienced its warmest five years since records began in 1900, according to an “Arctic Report Card” issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Rising air temperatures have had profound effects on sea ice, and the warming Arctic climate may be exacerbating extreme weather events around the world, including extreme cold events, such as the winter storms felt in the northeastern United States last year. The annual edition of the report card falls in line with recent years and shows that the troublesome trends brought on by climate change are intensifying. Without significant cuts in carbon emissions the melting will continue, scientists say. “The report card continues to document a rapid unraveling of the Arctic,” said Rafe Pomerance, chairman of Arctic 21, a network of organizations focused on educating policymakers and others on Arctic climate change. “The signals of decline are so powerful and the consequences so great that they demand far more urgency from all governments to reduce emissions.”