Arctic Report Card 2014 released at the AGU Fall Meeting

December 19, 2014
By Jessica Rohde

The annual update to the Arctic Report Card was released on 17 December 2014 at a press conference at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Available online (http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/), Arctic Report Card 2014 is a peer-reviewed publication of 10 essays prepared by a team of 63 authors from 13 different countries.

The essay topics are:

  • Air Temperature
  • Terrestrial Snow Cover
  • Greenland Ice Sheet
  • Sea Ice
  • Arctic Ocean Sea Surface Temperature
  • Arctic Ocean Primary Productivity
  • Tundra Greenness
  • Polar Bears: Status, Trends and New Knowledge
  • Climate, Herbivore Body Size & Arctic Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • Depicting Arctic Change: Dependence on the Reference Period.

 Arctic Report Card 2014 can be summarized as follows:

The warming Arctic atmosphere was strongly connected to lower latitudes in early 2014 causing cold air outbreaks into the eastern USA and warm air intrusions into Alaska and northern Europe.

 Polar bears numbers in western Hudson Bay and the southern Beaufort Sea are decreasing in connection with a decrease in the availability of sea ice.

 Sea surface temperatures and primary production are increasing as the sea ice retreats throughout the Arctic Ocean.

Snow cover extent in April 2014 in Eurasia was the lowest since 1967 and sea ice extent in September was the 6th lowest since 1979.

The tundra is “browning” as the length of the growing season is decreasing in Eurasia, but peak tundra greenness and productivity are increasing across the Arctic.

On the Greenland ice sheet nearly 40% of the surface experienced melting conditions in summer 2014 and the albedo (reflectivity) reached a new record low value in August, but the total ice mass remained essentially unchanged between 2013 and 2014.

Posted by Jessica Rohde on behalf of Martin Jeffries, Office of Naval Research

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