Tracking and Monitoring Climate Change in the North
While climate change has become more noticeable across the planet, its impacts have become more severe in the High North. Since 2000, the average Arctic surface air temperature has increased at twice the rate of the global temperature. This phenomenon – scientifically described as ‘Arctic amplification’ – is caused in part by a loss of sea ice which results in a reduction of reflected sunlight as the surface shifts from bright white sea ice to a blue ocean. Along with this, the snowy landscapes also shift to greener ecosystems. (More information at 2020 Arctic Report card). This amplification can lead to rapidly thawing permafrost which, along with coastal erosion, can adversely affect Arctic communities, causing damaged infrastructures, more frequent storms and an increase in wildfires.
These climate-related events in the Arctic require the Department of Energy, coordinated by the Arctic Energy Office, to develop better observing, modeling and prediction capabilities. These efforts will help inform energy planning and engage Arctic residents in observation, data analysis and citizen science. The Department is committed to using science and technology to enhance local workforce capabilities, and reinforce and redesign supporting infrastructure.
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