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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Arctic Warming Twice as Fast as Rest of World
6 August 2013 3:45 pm
For the 23rd year, researchers have compiled a “state of the climate” report—and as report cards go, it’s not a good one. Using data from satellites, buoys, and weather stations worldwide, 384 scientists from 52 countries looked at various trends in temperature, precipitation, sea ice, and greenhouse gas concentrations, to name a few. Atmospheric concentrations of planet-warming carbon dioxide reached a record 392.6 parts per million in 2012, the researchers report online today in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Last year also posted records for carbon dioxide emissions (including an estimated 9.7 billion metric tons of carbon), the heat-trapping effect of major greenhouse gases, including CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide (up 32% since 1990), and sea-level rise (up an average of 68 millimeters globally since 1993). The Arctic is warming about twice as fast as the rest of the world, the researchers note, and accordingly the effects there are particularly pronounced. In September, the area covered by Arctic sea ice (image) reached a new low of 3.4 million square kilometers—an area about twice the size of Alaska and a whopping 18% below the previous record set in 2007. June snow cover on land in the Arctic (a climate measure that’s now declining faster than sea ice) also reached a new low in 2012, and permafrost temperatures in northernmost Alaska reached new highs. Overall, 2012 was one of the 10 warmest years on record—and wasn’t warmer thanks to the lack of an El Niño. (That climate phenomenon results when sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific climb more than 0.5°C above normal for an extended period, triggering changes in weather patterns and generally boosting global temperatures in the process.)