ARCTIC REPORT CARD 2017 INDICATES REGION CHANGING IN A PHENOMENAL WAY
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By Cori Marshall
Every year since 2006 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Arctic Program publishes the Arctic Report Card (ARC). The reports itself is a collection of essays that is peer-reviewed by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP).
"The biggest thing that we have seen from the report card this year is that the Arctic is continuing on this trend of really clear warming," Jeremy Mathis, Director of NOAA's Arctic Program said. Mathis stressed that "the Arctic is a much different place than it was, even a decade ago because it is warming twice as fast as the planet."
"We were able to use new information to really put the warming into context, and show that the rate of change, the warming and the loss of sea ice that we're observing now in the Arctic is unprecedented in the past 1500 years, [...] the Arctic is changing faster now than it ever has before."
Mathis urged "the most immediate thing we have to do is get everybody aware of what is going on in the Arctic because what happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic."
Jeremy Mathis, Director of NOAA's Arctic Program.
"This is going to impact every person living in the world," he explained, "the Arctic is driving major changes in sea level particularly from the melting of the Greenland ice sheet." Mathis added that they "want to make everybody aware that the changes that are happening in the Arctic are going to impact their lives in some way." These effecs may come in the form of more extreme weather, sea level rise, or even higher food prices.
Mathis said that "we need to start thinking about strategies for dealing with the impacts that are already happening." Developing those approaches "is going to take creative thinking, and more resources on our part."
"There are certainly solutions," Mathis said, "improving infrastructure to deal with the changing landscape." He added things "like resilience response to help communities deal with either relocation or reinvestment, which is going to be necessary to sustain themselves long-term."
"There are things we can do, they are going to cost money," Mathis said. He added, "we need people to understand that this isn't an investment being made for a problem in some faraway place this is something that is going to touch their lives."
The changes in the Arctic are not happening in a uniform way across the region. Mathis said that "there is some local variability, it's just that the region as a whole is changing in a really phenomenal way."
It is positive to see the attention that NOAA and the Arctic Project place on the changes already taking place in the region. Being that the impacts will affect the world, Mathis suggested that the effort to mitigate the effects should be international. Not only should it be important globally, so should it be in the United States, just as Mathis said, "this is going to be an important part of US national security and national policy well into the future."