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Arctic Biodiversity Assessment status and trends

Photo: Carsten Egevang/ARC-PIC.com

 

 

The average population of Arctic species increased by 16% between 1970 and 2004

however, this is not consistent across biomes, regions, and taxa. (Source: ASTI 2010)

 

High Arctic species populations have decreased by an average of 26% between 1970 and 2004.

(Source: ASTI 2010)

 

Lanugages10

Of the 21 Northern languages that have gone extinct, 48% of those have disappeared since 1990.

This indicates an increasing rate of language extinction. (Source: ABA 2013)

 

wetlands

More than 50% of the world's wetlands are in the Arctic and sub-Arctic

Wetlands are important for carbon storage and water cycling. (Source: ABA 2013)

 

Ivorygull80

The ivory gull, a high Arctic species has decreased by 80% (since the 1980s)

on its Canadian range. (Source: ABA 2013)

 

Polar_Bear_30

Polar bears are affected by decreasing sea ice

The global population of polar bears is predicted to decrease by 30% in the next 45 years. (Source: ABA 2013)

 

December 4, 2013, U.S.A.- The Arctic Council, through the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) and the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna’s (CAFF) Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme (CBMP), has contributed to the Arctic Report Card, an annual report released today by the National Oceanic and Atmoshperic Administration (NOAA) that monitors the often-quickly changing conditions in the Arctic.

Arctic sea ice at a record low in 2012. Photo: Garry Donaldson

 

The peer-reviewed report contains contributions from 141 authors from 15 countries. For this year's issue CAFF’s CBMP developed and edited the terrestrial and marine ecosystem chapters in cooperation with others, while AMAP organized an independent peer-review process involving international experts.

 

The Arctic region continued to break records in 2012—among them the loss of summer sea ice, spring snow cover, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet. This was true even though air temperatures in the Arctic were unremarkable relative to the last decade, according to the report.

 

Major findings include:

  • Snow cover: A new record low snow extent for the Northern Hemisphere was set in June 2012, and a new record low was reached in May over Eurasia.
  • Sea ice: Minimum Arctic sea ice extent in September 2012 set a new all-time record low, as measured by satellite since 1979.
  • Greenland ice sheet: There was a rare, nearly ice sheet-wide melt event on the Greenland ice sheet in July, covering about 97 percent of the ice sheet on a single day.
  • Vegetation: The tundra is getting greener and there’s more above-ground growth. During the period of 2003-2010, the length of the growing season increased through much of the Arctic.
  • Wildlife and food chain: In northernmost Europe, the Arctic fox is close to extinction and vulnerable to the encroaching Red fox. Additionally, massive phytoplankton blooms below the summer sea ice suggest estimates of biological production at the bottom of the marine food chain may be ten times too low.
  • Ocean: Sea surface temperatures in summer continue to be warmer than the long-term average at the growing ice-free margins, while upper ocean temperature and salinity show significant interannual variability with no clear trends.
  • Weather: Most of the notable weather activity in fall and winter occurred in the sub-Arctic due to a strong positive North Atlantic Oscillation. There were three extreme weather events including an unusual cold spell in late January to early February 2012 across Eurasia, and two record storms characterized by very low central pressures and strong winds near western Alaska in November 2011 and north of Alaska in August 2012.

 

The major findings listed above reinforce the findings presented in AMAP’s recent assessment of snow, water ice and permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA).

 

The Arctic Report Card was released today at a press briefing at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco, California. For more information on this year’s report please visit the Arctic Report Card 2012 webpage.

 

 

Contact

 

Mike Gill

Chair

Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program

Whitehorse, Canada (PST, -8GMT)

+1 867 334 3258

 

 

and

 

Linda Joy

NOAA Communciations

Silver Springs, Maryland (EST, -5GMT)

+1 301 734 1165


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