partlycloudy
Wednesday July 1st, 2015 11:18AM

Mild 2013 cuts Arctic a break, warming woes remain

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The rapid melting in the Arctic eased up this year. But the government says global warming is still dramatically altering the top of the world, reducing the number of reindeer and shrinking snow and ice, while increasing certain fish and extending the growing season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its report card for the Arctic on Thursday, portraying 2013 as moderate compared with the roasting 2012.

Overall Arctic temperatures didn't soar quite as high, and Greenland ice sheets and summer sea ice didn't melt as much.

"The Arctic caught a break, if you will, in 2013, but one year doesn't change the long-term trend toward a warmer Arctic," said report card editor Martin Jeffries, a University of Alaska geophysicist who is the science adviser to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.

While 2013 looks a tad cool compared with the last six years, it is unusually warm compared with the 20th century, he said.

The report card was released at the American Geophysical Union scientific conference in San Francisco.

Central Alaska's summer was one of the warmest on record, coming months after its coldest April since 1924, NOAA said. Fairbanks experienced a record 36 days of more than 80 degrees. And snow cover in May and June was near record low levels in North America and broke a record for the least snow in Eurasia.

But one of the biggest climate change indicators, summer sea ice, wasn't as bad as expected. Sea ice reached its sixth-lowest level since NOAA began measuring - up from the lowest ever in 2012. But the seven lowest levels have all occurred in the last seven years.

"This is simply natural variability," said National Snow and Ice Data Center director Mark Serreze, who wasn't part of the NOAA report but praised it. "There is nothing about the year 2013 that provides any evidence that the Arctic is starting a path toward recovery."

He added: "Looking back 20 years from now, the world will be warmer and we'll have much less sea ice than today. We'll see that 2013 was just a temporary respite."

More ominous are long-term trends, NOAA's report card said.

Average Arctic temperatures have increased 3.6 degrees since the 1960s, rising twice as fast as the rest of the world. The growing season has lengthened by nearly a month since 1982.

Fish species are moving north, permafrost is melting, and shrubs are greening in ways that weren't seen before.

University of Virginia environmental scientist Howard Epstein warned that changes in the Arctic reverberate around the globe.

"The Arctic is not like Vegas," he said. "What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic."
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 1 year ago )
NSA reportedly intercepts computer deliveries
A German magazine has lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacker unit, revealing how American spies intercepted computer deliveries, exploited hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijacked Microsoft's bug report system to spy on their targets.
12:31PM ( 1 year ago )
Rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel
Rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday, causing no injuries but sparking an Israeli reprisal shelling in a rare flare-up between the two countries.
12:26PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
US stocks open higher following gains in European markets
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks opened higher Wednesday on hopes that a deal between Greece and its creditors could be cobbled together to prevent a Greek exit from the euro. Stocks in Europe rose sharply...
10:20AM ( 57 minutes ago )
The Latest: US, Cuba to open embassies to restore ties
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and Cuba have agreed to open embassies in their capital cities, a major step in restoring ties after more than 50 years of hostilities. The latest developments (all...
10:16AM ( 1 hour ago )
Survey: US businesses step up hiring in June to 237,000
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses added jobs at a robust pace in June, a private survey found, evidence that rising consumer spending and a healthy housing market are supporting more hiring.Payroll pr...
8:59AM ( 2 hours ago )
Episcopalians to vote on allowing gay marriage in churches
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Episcopalians are set to vote Wednesday on allowing religious weddings for same-sex couples, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.In 2003, the...
4:03AM ( 7 hours ago )
Christie promises blunt campaign as he enters 2016 contest
LIVINGSTON, N.J. (AP) — A tough-talking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie launched his 2016 campaign for president Tuesday with a promise to tell voters the truth even if it makes them cringe.The Republi...
8:42PM ( 14 hours ago )