2023 ends with a Snowchange collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – USA on the Arctic Report Card. Warmest summer on record, but also highlights to the rewilding programme.
NOAA’s 2023 Arctic Report Card documents new records showing that human-caused warming of the air, ocean and land is affecting people, ecosystems and communities across the Arctic region, which is heating up faster than any other part of the world.
Summer surface air temperatures during 2023 were the warmest ever observed in the Arctic, while the highest point on Greenland’s ice sheet experienced melting for only the fifth time in the 34-year record. Overall, it was the Arctic’s sixth-warmest year on record. Sea ice extent continued to decline, with the last 17 Septembers now registering as the lowest on record. These records followed two years when unprecedented high abundance of sockeye salmon in western Alaska’s Bristol Bay contrasted with record-low Chinook and chum salmon that led to fishery closures on the Yukon River and other Bering Sea tributaries.
“The overriding message from this year’s report card is that the time for action is now,” said Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA administrator. “NOAA and our federal partners have ramped up our support and collaboration with state, tribal and local communities to help build climate resilience. At the same time, we as a nation and global community must dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are driving these changes.”
Over the last two decades, the Finnish nonprofit Snowchange Cooperative has restored dozens of sites, positively influencing 128,000 acres (52,000 hectares) of peatlands and forest damaged by decades of industrial harvesting and forest management.
The restoration demonstrates a globally relevant climate solution that increases carbon storage, preventing greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere. The restored peatlands are also restoring water quality and bringing back fish and birds, a vital food source and draw for ecotourism.
The annual Arctic Report Card, now in its 18th year, is the work of 82 authors from 13 countries. It includes a section titled Vital Signs, that updates eight measures of physical and biological changes, four chapters on emerging issues and a special report on the 2023 summer of extreme wildfires.