NRC Releases Synthesis of Reports on the State of the Polar Regions
04.04.2012 - Atmosphere & Space, Water & Oceans, Land & Geology, Ice & Snow, Flora & Fauna, Human Dimension, Other, Bi-polar
The US National Research Council (NRC) has just released a synthesis of reports from thousands of scientists from 60 countries who participated in research projects during the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007- 2008.
Major findings summarized in the synthesis indicate that the Arctic and Antarctic are responding to global warming much more rapidly than expected, as are biological and oceanographic systems around the world.
Some highlights of the report include:
- Over the course of 2007, sea ice retreated 27%;
- Ice sheets at the poles are showings signs of serious retreat, which is expected to continue and may even accelerate;
- Warm ocean currents are melting the ice front faster than expected;
- Seven of 12 ice shelves along the Antarctica Peninsula are either gone are in severe decline;
- Fish species are migrating ever northward in the Northern Hemisphere; • Phytoplankton have appeared again in the North Atlantic after 800,000 years of absence as their habitable temperature barrier recedes northwards.
Dr. Julie Brigham-Grette from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Dr. Robert Bindschadler, Senior Fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, co-chaired the report. Both have testified before representatives of the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US Geological Survey (USGS), the Office of Naval Research, the US State Department and the US Arctic Research Commission.