2013 Arctic Report CardThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA have released a report on the state of the Arctic over the past year, and while some markers - such as air temperature, snow cover, sea ice extent, ocean temperature, vegetation growth, and wildlife behavior - were not as extreme as during the past few years, the overall trend of warming is still obvious. For example, the map above shows sea surface temperatures in August 2013; with color coding representing the areas that were warmer (red) or cooler (blue) than the 1982–2006 average.
"By September, surface waters around the Barents Sea Opening (between Svalbard and Scandinavia) were about 5°F (3°C) warmer than they were in 2012. Southern Barents Sea temperatures reached 52°F (11°C), which is 9°F (5°C) warmer than the 1977–2006 average."
Here's an overview of the 2013 Arctic Report Card:
More details can be found on NOAA's website.
What happens in the Arctic isn't just important for the region. I matters for the whole planet:
During a press conference about the report, University of Virginia scientist Howard Epstein emphasized that ongoing changes in the Arctic are not happening in a vacuum. “The Arctic is not like Vegas,” he said. “What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. The major changes that we see in the sea ice, the spring snow cover extent, the increasing vegetation, the potential changes in greenhouse gases fluxes—these are all things that have implications that extend beyond just the Arctic to the rest of the world.” (source)