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arctic region climate

The southern part of this area has small hills; the northern part has mountains, glaciers, plains, and islands. Scientific expeditions to the Arctic also became more common during the Cold-War decades, sometimes benefiting logistically or financially from the military interest. Second, because colder air holds less water vapour than warmer air, in the Arctic, a greater fraction of any increase in radiation absorbed by the surface goes directly into warming the atmosphere, whereas in the tropics, a greater fraction goes into evaporation. In addition the length of each day, which is determined by the season, has a significant impact on the climate. This is especially true near the coast, where the terrain rises from sea level to over 2,500 m (8,200 ft), enhancing precipitation due to orographic lift. Source: Record low temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. [13] In 2009, NASA reported that 45 percent or more of the observed warming in the Arctic since 1976 was likely a result of changes in tiny airborne particles called aerosols. The recent wildfires were exacerbated by elevated air temperatures and decreased snow cover on the ground in the Arctic region, the report found. Typically some falling snow is kept from entering precipitation gauges by winds, causing an underreporting of precipitation amounts in regions that receive a large fraction of their precipitation as snowfall. [16] Geologists were able to track the summer Arctic temperatures as far back as the time of the Romans by studying natural signals in the landscape. It also experiences the longest period without sunlight of any part of the Arctic, and the longest period of continuous sunlight, though the frequent cloudiness in summer reduces the importance of this solar radiation. One of the better known: the continually shrinking summer sea-ice extent in the Arctic. Of January observations reporting precipitation, 95% to 99% of them indicate it was frozen. By November, winter is in full swing in most of the Arctic, and the small amount of solar radiation still reaching the region does not play a significant role in its climate. Less snow falls in the Arctic than rain in the Sahara Desert. In summer, the presence of the nearby water keeps coastal areas from warming as much as they might otherwise. The climate of the Arctic is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers. Though the Vikings explored parts of the Arctic over a millennium ago, and small numbers of people have been living along the Arctic coast for much longer, scientific knowledge about the region was slow to develop; the large islands of Severnaya Zemlya, just north of the Taymyr Peninsula on the Russian mainland, were not discovered until 1913, and not mapped until the early 1930s Despite the low precipitation totals in winter, precipitation frequency is higher in January, when 25% to 35% of observations reported precipitation, than in July, when 20% to 25% of observations reported precipitation (Serreze and Barry 2005). As such, the climate of much of the Arctic is moderated by the ocean water, which can never have a temperature below −2 °C (28 °F). Those areas near the sea-ice edge will remain somewhat warmer due to the moderating influence of the nearby open water. Coastal regions on the northern half of Greenland experience winter temperatures similar to or slightly warmer than the Canadian Archipelago, with average January temperatures of −30 to −25 °C (−22 to −13 °F). This map was made in the 1970s, and the extent of sea ice has decreased since then (see below), but this still gives a reasonable overview. In the station climatology figure above, the Centrale plot is representative of the high Greenland Ice Sheet. Precipitation over the north coast is similar to that over the central Arctic Basin. Frequent cloud cover, exceeding 80% frequency over much of the Arctic Ocean in July,[2] reduces the amount of solar radiation that reaches the surface by reflecting much of it before it gets to the surface. The map shows the 10-year average (2000–2009) global mean temperature anomaly relative to the 1951–1980 mean. The climate of the Arctic region has varied significantly during the Earth's history. [15][16] These orbital changes led to a cold period known as the little ice age during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. [2] Another significant moment in Arctic observing before World War II occurred in 1937 when the USSR established the first of over 30 North-Pole drifting stations. The snow that does fall stays on the ground for a long time, because the air is so cold. This report also states that "most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [greater than 90% chance] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." [7], The map at right shows the areas covered by sea ice when it is at its maximum extent (March) and its minimum extent (September). Winds and ocean currents cause the sea ice to move. Sea ice is relatively thin, generally less than about 4 m (13 ft), with thicker ridges (NSIDC). These maps were made with data from the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis, which incorporates available data into a computer model to create a consistent global data set. "But the rate of change we've seen in the last 20 years -- and especially the last five years -- is beyond what we thought would happen.". There is a number of islands lying to the north of the Hudson Bay, which is where the lowlands are found. What little there is falls as snow. This station, like the later ones, was established on a thick ice floe and drifted for almost a year, its crew observing the atmosphere and ocean along the way. The results highlighted that for around 1,900 years temperatures steadily dropped, caused by precession of earth's orbit that caused the planet to be slightly farther away from the sun during summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Eleven nations provided support to establish twelve observing stations around the Arctic. Monthly precipitation totals over most of the Arctic Basin average about 15 mm (0.59 in) from November through May, and rise to 20 to 30 mm (0.79 to 1.18 in) in July, August, and September (Serreze and Hurst 2000). In the winter, the Arctic region has 24 hours of darkness because the high latitudes such as the Arctic are turned away from the sun at this time of year. The Arctic region, or the Arctic, is a geographic region spreading around the North Pole. The southern third of Greenland protrudes into the North-Atlantic storm track, a region frequently influenced by cyclones. in the Arctic: the cold air doesn’t hold a lot of moisture. This program operated continuously, with 30 stations in the Arctic from 1950 to 1991. All of this extra heat has taken a toll on another critical part of the Arctic ecosystem -- its sea ice. The result is annual precipitation totals of 400 mm (16 in) over the southern interior to over 1,200 mm (47 in) near the southern and southeastern coasts. This warming has been caused not only by the rise in greenhouse gas concentration, but also the deposition of soot on Arctic ice. Neither the models nor the data are perfect, so these maps may differ from other estimates of surface temperatures; in particular, most Arctic climatologies show temperatures over the central Arctic Ocean in July averaging just below freezing, a few degrees lower than these maps show [2][3](USSR, 1985)[citation needed]. Without urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the world will continue to feel the effects of a warming Arctic: rising sea levels, changes in climate and precipitation patterns, increasing severe weather events, and loss of fish stocks, birds and marine mammals. As the amount of solar radiation available to the surface rapidly decreases, the temperatures follow suit. Where sea ice remains, in the central Arctic Basin and the straits between the islands in the Canadian Archipelago, the many melt ponds and lack of snow cause about half of the sun's energy to be absorbed,[2] but this mostly goes toward melting ice since the ice surface cannot warm above freezing. [15][16][17] The largest rises have occurred since 1950, with four of the five warmest decades in the last 2,000 years occurring between 1950 and 2000. All variables are measured at relatively few stations in the Arctic, but precipitation observations are made more uncertain due to the difficulty in catching in a gauge all of the snow that falls. It reduces the transfer of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere; it causes less solar energy to be absorbed at the surface, and provides a surface on which snow can accumulate, which further decreases the absorption of solar energy; since salt is rejected from the ice as it forms, the ice increases the salinity of the ocean's surface water where it forms and decreases the salinity where it melts, both of which can affect the ocean's circulation. In the figure below showing station climatologies, the plot for Yakutsk is representative of this part of the Far East; Yakutsk has a slightly less extreme climate than Verkhoyansk. Fifty years after the first IPY, in 1932 to 1933, a second IPY was organized. The ice may be bare ice, or it may be covered by snow or ponds of melt water, depending on location and time of year. Some parts of the Arctic are covered by ice (sea ice, glacial ice, or snow) year-round, and nearly all parts of the Arctic experience long periods with some form of ice on the surface. Temperatures above 20 °C are rare but do sometimes occur in the far south and south-west coastal areas. The typical pattern of ice motion is shown on the map at right. Sea ice is frozen sea water that floats on the ocean's surface. Another benefit from the Cold War was the acquisition of observations from United States and Soviet naval voyages into the Arctic. Most of the Basin receives less than 250 mm (9.8 in) of precipitation per year, qualifying it as a desert. Today's satellite instruments provide routine views of not only cloud, snow, and sea-ice conditions in the Arctic, but also of other, perhaps less-expected, variables, including surface and atmospheric temperatures, atmospheric moisture content, winds, and ozone concentration. Furthermore, most of the small amount of solar radiation that reaches the surface is reflected away by the bright snow cover. The mountains are located in the far northwest border. At its maximum extent, in March, sea ice covers about 15 million km² (5.8 million sq mi) of the Northern Hemisphere, nearly as much area as the largest country, Russia.[8]. Geophysical research letters, 34(9). This region is continuously below freezing, so all precipitation falls as snow, with more in summer than in the winter time. Over the Arctic Ocean the snow cover on the sea ice disappears and ponds of melt water start to form on the sea ice, further reducing the amount of sunlight the ice reflects and helping more ice melt. Most regions receive less than 500 mm (20 in) annually (Serreze and Hurst 2000, USSR 1985). Snow still covers much of the Arctic for up to nine months out of the year. This one was larger than the first, with 94 meteorological stations, but World War II delayed or prevented the publication of much of the data collected during it. In summer, the coastal regions of Greenland experience temperatures similar to the islands in the Canadian Archipelago, averaging just a few degrees above freezing in July, with slightly higher temperatures in the south and west than in the north and east. Greenland: The interior of Greenland differs from the rest of the Arctic. The warm air transported into these regions also mean that liquid precipitation is more common than over the rest of the Arctic Basin in both winter and summer. In winter, the heat transferred from the −2 °C (28 °F) water through cracks in the ice and areas of open water helps to moderate the climate some, keeping average winter temperatures around −30 to −35 °C (−22 to −31 °F). Winter in the maritime Arctic (the Aleutians, coastal southwestern Greenland, Iceland, and the European Arctic) is a period of storminess, high winds, heavy precipitation in the form of either snow or rain (the latter at sea level), and moderate temperatures. In the figure above showing station climatologies, the lower-left plot, for NP 7–8, is representative of conditions over the Arctic Basin. In the station-climatology figure above, the plots for Point Barrow, Tiksi, Murmansk, and Isfjord are typical of land areas adjacent to seas that are ice-covered seasonally. Because of this, the region never receives direct sunlight, but instead gets rays indirectly and thus gets less solar radiation. The presence of the islands, most of which lose their snow cover in summer, allows the summer temperatures to rise well above freezing. The climate of the Arctic also depends on the amount of sunlight reaching the surface, and being absorbed by the surface. In the Arctic, the lifestyle and livelihoods are often linked to nature. By May, temperatures are rising, as 24-hour daylight reaches many areas, but most of the Arctic is still snow-covered, so the Arctic surface reflects more than 70% of the sun's energy that reaches it over all areas but the Norwegian Sea and southern Bering Sea, where the ocean is ice free, and some of the land areas adjacent to these seas, where the moderating influence of the open water helps melt the snow early.[2]. Canada’s Arctic Climate Region Canada’s Arctic Climate region can be found in the far north of the country close to the Arctic Ocean. Routine satellite observations of the Arctic began in the early 1970s, expanding and improving ever since. [13], A study published in the journal Science in September 2009 determined that temperatures in the Arctic are higher presently than they have been at any time in the previous 2,000 years. "But the potential changes in the Arctic that are triple what we see at the mid-latitudes are going to completely change what the Arctic looks like, and that will feedback to the rest of the planet.". Much of the winter variability in this region is due to clouds. Around the edges of the Arctic Ocean the ice will melt and break up, exposing the ocean water, which absorbs almost all of the solar radiation that reaches it, storing the energy in the water column. The arctic region is a combination of lowlands and mountains. [2] As a result, expeditions from the second half of the nineteenth century began to provide a picture of the Arctic climate. During these ice ages, large areas of northern North America and Eurasia were covered by ice sheets similar to the one found today on Greenland; Arctic climate conditions would have extended much further south, and conditions in the present-day Arctic region were likely colder. Since 2000, the Arctic has warmed more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, the report says. However, more snow could fall in another region of Canada. It is now no longer a question of "if" we will see an ice-free Arctic in the new few decades -- it is "when," said Walt Meier, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center and a co-author of the sea ice section of this year's Arctic Report Card. The Russian government ended the system of drifting North Pole stations, and closed many of the surface stations in the Russian Arctic. Over most of the seas that are ice-covered seasonally, winter temperatures average between about −30 and −15 °C (−22 and 5 °F). The models, though imperfect, often provide valuable insight into climate-related questions that cannot be tested in the real world. The northern islands receive similar amounts, with a similar annual cycle, to the central Arctic Basin. As an example, we can look at the normal climate for June, July and August (JJA) in Ottawa. Accurate climatologies of precipitation amount are more difficult to compile for the Arctic than climatologies of other variables such as temperature and pressure. In addition to serving as a vital habitat for polar bears and walruses, the Arctic's sea ice is a key part of the planet's air-conditioning system, reflecting the sun's energy back into space and keeping temperatures around the North Pole cool. Almost all of the energy available to the Earth's surface and atmosphere comes from the sun in the form of solar radiation (light from the sun, including invisible ultraviolet and infrared light). Sea ice freezes in winter and melts during summer, and this year's summer minimum extent was the second-lowest ever observed in the 42-year satellite record, according to the report. And with near-record high surface temperatures and near-record low sea ice observed yet again, the, "We thought the changes would take a lot longer, and the models were saying they would," said James Overland, an oceanographer at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, who has been a part of all 15 Arctic Report Cards and co-authored the portion on surface air temperatures in this edition. Stronger winds do occur in storms, often causing whiteout conditions, but they rarely exceed 25 m/s (90 km/h (56 mph) in these areas. Wind speeds over the Arctic Basin and the western Canadian Archipelago average between 4 and 6 metres per second (14 and 22 kilometres per hour, 9 and 13 miles per hour) in all seasons. This is due to the region's continental climate, far from the moderating influence of the ocean, and to the valleys in the region that can trap cold, dense air and create strong temperature inversions, where the temperature increases, rather than decreases, with height. It is very far from the equator which is why. The Arctic region's climate is very cold and harsh for most of the year due to the Earth's axial tilt. Beginning in the 1850s regular meteorological observations became more common in many countries, and the British navy implemented a system of detailed observation. And the report finds that looking at the full satellite record, the overall trend is moving toward a greener Arctic, as warmer temperatures thaw the frozen tundra, allowing shrubs and other plant species to take root in places they couldn't in the past. Since there is no sunlight, the thermal radiation emitted by the atmosphere is one of this region's main sources of energy in winter. Short, cool summers and long, cold winters help to maintain permafrost on the land. Average temperatures in summer are above freezing over all regions except the central Arctic Basin, where sea ice survives through the summer, and interior Greenland[citation needed]. The west coast of the central third of Greenland is also influenced by some cyclones and orographic lift, and precipitation totals over the ice sheet slope near this coast are up to 600 mm (24 in) per year. Updated 2018 GMT (0418 HKT) December 8, 2020. The winter ice cover allows temperatures to drop much lower in these regions than in the regions that are ice-free all year. First is the ice-albedo feedback, whereby an initial warming causes snow and ice to melt, exposing darker surfaces that absorb more sunlight, leading to more warming. In winter, this relatively warm water, even though covered by the polar ice pack, keeps the North Pole from being the coldest place in the Northern Hemisphere, and it is also part of the reason that Antarctica is so much colder than the Arctic. An earlier climatology of temperatures in the Arctic, based entirely on available data, is shown in this map from the CIA Polar Regions Atlas.[3]. These data became available after the Cold War, and have provided evidence of thinning of the Arctic sea ice. As a result, the most complete collection of surface observations from the Arctic is for the period 1960 to 1990.[2]. This map shows the location of Arctic research facilities during the mid-1970s and the tracks of drifting stations between 1958 and 1975. As the Arctic continues receiving energy from the sun during this time, the land, which is mostly free of snow by now, can warm up on clear days when the wind is not coming from the cold ocean. Another effect of a warmer climate is that the Arctic is growing greener. Some locations near these coasts where the terrain is particularly conducive to causing orographic lift receive up 2,200 mm (87 in) of precipitation per year. As with the rest of the planet, the climate in the Arctic has changed throughout time. Meteorological observations were collected from the ship during its crossing from September 1893 to August 1896. Changes in the Arctic will not only affect local people and ecosystems but also the rest of the world, because the Arctic plays a special role in global climate. Weather and climate in the far north are very different than weather and climate in the middle and lower latitudes, where most people live, but it is not always bitterly cold. Welcome to the Arctic RCC Network. Likewise the United States and Canadian governments cut back on spending for Arctic observing as the perceived need for the DEWLINE declined. [15] The last decade was the warmest in the record.[18]. Third, because the Arctic temperature structure inhibits vertical air motions, the depth of the atmospheric layer that has to warm in order to cause warming of near-surface air is much shallower in the Arctic than in the tropics. Annual precipitation totals in the Canadian Archipelago increase dramatically from north to south. This begins a feedback, as melting snow reflects less solar radiation (50% to 60%) than dry snow, allowing more energy to be absorbed and the melting to take place faster. Though the report found that the duration of snow cover was roughly normal over much of the Arctic, snow cover over huge swaths of Siberia melted as much as a month early, owing to temperatures that were more than 5 degrees Celsius above average. The results of the seasonal forecast are compared to the normal climate of the 90-day period. Where it does rise, the days are short, and the sun's low position in the sky means that, even at noon, not much energy is reaching the surface. Arctic days lengthen rapidly in March and April, and the sun rises higher in the sky, both bringing more solar radiation to the Arctic than in winter. Most scientists agree that Arctic weather and climate are changing because of human-caused climate change. Climate change is an overriding factor, affecting all aspects of life in the Arctic, yet the GHG emissions responsible for recent warming emanate from industrial activity and land use changes far removed from the region. These regions are slightly warmer than the Archipelago because of their closer proximity to areas of thin, first-year sea ice cover or to open ocean in the Baffin Bay and Greenland Sea. [2] The warming and resultant longer open water periods suggest a potential for expansion of marine vegetation along the vast Arctic coastline. In the Arctic region, weather conditions vary greatly depending on the season. The Arctic has been warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, triggering a host of changes across the region. In September and October the days get rapidly shorter, and in northern areas the sun disappears from the sky entirely. On the June solstice 36% more solar radiation reaches the top of the atmosphere over the course of the day at the North Pole than at the Equator. Annual totals here range from less than 100 to about 200 mm (4 to 8 in). During these early months of Northern Hemisphere spring most of the Arctic is still experiencing winter conditions, but with the addition of sunlight. RCCs are Centres of Excellence that assist WMO Members in a given region to deliver better climate services and products including regional long-range forecasts, and to strengthen their capacity to meet national climate information needs. In winter, the Canadian Archipelago experiences temperatures similar to those in the Arctic Basin, but in the summer months of June to August, the presence of so much land in this region allows it to warm more than the ice-covered Arctic Basin. The Arctic consists of ocean that is largely surrounded by land. The parts of the Basin just north of Svalbard and the Taymyr Peninsula are exceptions to the general description just given. Variations in the amount of solar radiation reaching different parts of the Earth are a principal driver of global and regional climate. The lowest officially recorded temperature in the Northern Hemisphere is −67.7 °C (−89.9 °F) which occurred in Oymyakon on 6 February 1933, as well as in Verkhoyansk on 5 and 7 February 1892, respectively. Annual precipitation totals increase quickly from about 400 mm (16 in) in the northern to about 1,400 mm (55 in) in the southern part of the region. Coastal areas can be affected by nearby open water, or by heat transfer through sea ice from the ocean, and many parts lose their snow cover in summer, allowing them to absorb more solar radiation and warm more than the interior. The observations were not as widespread or long-lasting as would be needed to describe the climate in detail, but they provided the first cohesive look at the Arctic weather. Annual precipitation amounts given below for Greenland are from Figure 6.5 in Serreze and Barry (2005). However, the high elevation, and corresponding lower temperatures, help keep the bright snow from melting, limiting the warming effect of all this solar radiation. Sea ice in the Arctic has been declining dramatically as the region warms. [15][16] However, during the last 100 years temperatures have been rising, despite the fact that the continued changes in earth's orbit would have driven further cooling. Increasing latitude though imperfect, often provide valuable insight into climate-related questions that can be... Rapidly decreases, the underlying surfaces absorb even more energy, and islands tundra, a study of research. 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