The Arctic breaks climate records in 2023! The Arctic breaks climate records in 2023!

The Arctic breaks climate records in 2023!

The Arctic breaks climate records in 2023!

2023 has broken the record for the warmest summer in the Arctic, affecting people and ecosystems across the region.
Forest fires sparked evacuations across Canada. Greenland was also so hot that a research station at the top of the ice sheet recorded a melt in late June, the fifth melting event on record.

The year began unusually wet, and snow accumulation during the winter of 2022-2023 was above average in most parts of the Arctic. But by May, high spring temperatures had reduced North America's snowpack to a record low, exposing land that quickly overheated and dried out, fueling fires sparked by lightning across Canada.

In the 2023 Arctic Report Card , released on December 12, 82 Arctic scientists from around the world were brought together to assess the vital signs of the Arctic, the changes underway and their impacts on life across the region and around the world.

The summer of 2023 - July, August and September - broke the previous record set in 2016, by four times that number. Temperatures almost everywhere in the Arctic were above normal.

The winter snow cover melted early across large parts of northern Canada, allowing the sun an additional month to warm the exposed ground. Heat and lack of humidity dry out organic materials on and just below the surface.

Extremely warm weather in May and June 2023 in the Northwest Territories also heated up the mighty Mackenzie River, sending massive amounts of warm water into the Beaufort Sea to the north.

The warm waters melted the sea ice early, and currents also carried it westward toward Alaska, where the waters of the Mackenzie River contributed to the early loss of sea ice along most of northeastern Alaska, and to the increased growth of tundra plants.

Similar warmth in western Siberia has also contributed to rapid melting of sea ice and rising sea surface temperatures in the Kara and Laptev Seas of northern Russia.

The decline in Arctic sea ice has been a major contributor to the dramatic increase in average autumn temperatures across the region.

The report includes 12 articles that explore the impacts of climate and ecosystem changes across the Arctic and how communities are adapting. 

It revealed subsea permafrost, which is frozen soil on the ocean floor rich in organic materials. It began to melt gradually since it was submerged by water after the retreat of the ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere thousands of years ago.

Today, warmer ocean temperatures are likely to accelerate the melting of this hidden permafrost.

As with permafrost on Earth, when permafrost thaws under the sea, the organic matter it contains decomposes, releasing methane and carbon dioxide, and exacerbating ocean acidification.

For many people living in the Arctic, climate change is already disrupting lives and livelihoods.

Observers have noticed shifts in wind patterns and increasingly intense ocean storms. On land, rising temperatures are making river ice less reliable for travel, and melting permafrost is sinking roads and destabilizing homes.

Western Alaska communities that depend on salmon will see another year of severe population declines in 2023, a scarcity that is disrupting cultural practices and food security.

The 2023 Arctic Report Card is a reminder of the risks involved, both from a warming planet, and from the lives and cultures already disrupted by climate change.

The report was prepared by Rick Toman, Alaska climatologist, Matthew Druckenmiller, research scientist, and Twyla Moon, deputy principal scientist, of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), at the University of Colorado Boulder.



Scientists: Carbon dioxide emissions in Arctic cities are 30% higher than in natural soil

The results of studies conducted by scientists indicate a very rapid rate of decomposition of organic matter in urban soil, which contributes to the acceleration of carbon dioxide formation.
Urban environmental conditions accelerate the production of carbon dioxide by about a third, and Russian scientists reached this conclusion after comparing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from Arctic soil in cities and outside them. This was reported by the press service of the Russian Science Foundation.

Scientists have shown that Arctic soil in an urban environment emits 30% more carbon dioxide than in natural conditions. The study's authors attributed these differences to several reasons, namely higher temperatures in cities and the use of peat (brown coal) as a basis for creating "green areas."

This conclusion was reached by a team of researchers led by Maria Kournikova, a researcher at the People's Friendship University in Moscow, when she measured the volume of carbon dioxide emitted from non-frozen soil in the Russian Arctic regions. To obtain such information, scientists collected and studied soil samples over a period of two years in the large city of Murmansk in the Arctic region, in the relatively small city of Apatity and in its surrounding natural areas.

Measurements conducted by the researchers showed that soil in ten different areas within the city limits of Apatiti emits 30% more carbon dioxide than in neighboring natural areas. These differences were not typical for Murmansk, because the soil in the wilderness surrounding this city emits abnormally large amounts of carbon dioxide.

However, the scientists found that urban soil was about 3 degrees Celsius warmer than soil in natural areas in the Arctic. It also contains about 2-3 times less carbon than neighboring uninhabited areas of the Arctic. According to the researchers, both factors indicate a very rapid rate of decomposition of organic matter in urban soil, which contributes to accelerated carbon dioxide formation.

In addition, researchers found that turf soils in Murmansk and Apatity emit about 10-15% less carbon dioxide than soils near trees and shrubs. According to scientists, this is due to the presence of fallen leaves under the bushes and trees and to the fact that municipal services add peat to the soil next to these plants. Scientists stressed the need to take this into account when taking measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the Russian Arctic regions.
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