Arctic temperatures in the late 20th century, which were the warmest in four centuries, have been accompanied by a variety of other environmental changes, according to a review paper published in mid-July by a group of the world's leading Arctic researchers.
The changes appear to be at least partly a result of human activity, said University of Colorado at Boulder Research Associate Mark Serreze, the paper's principal author. Serreze and nine co-authors reviewed a series of more than 100 separate studies targeting a variety of components of Arctic change over decades and centuries.
"We had the pieces of the puzzle gathered, and we synthesized them to give us the best picture of what is going on right now in the Arctic," said Serreze, a researcher at the CU-based National Snow and Ice Data Center, or NSIDC.
Funded by the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs and Division of Atmospheric Sciences, the new study looked at air temperature measurements, atmospheric circulation observations, precipitation data, snow cover and snow depth records. The study also included sea ice measurements, ocean structure data, permafrost temperature observations, glacier mass balances, plant growth observations and carbon flux measurements, said Serreze.
The new paper was published in the Dutch journal, Climatic Change. Four of the paper's authors, including Serreze, Mark Dyurgerov, Tingjun Zhang and Roger Barry, are from CU-Boulder. Serreze, Zhang and Barry are affiliated with the NSIDC -- part of the CU-based Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences while Dyurgerov is a research associate at CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.
Other authors include John Walsh of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Terry Chapin, Thomas Osterkamp and Vladimir Romanovsky of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Walter Oechel of San Diego State University and Jamie Morison of the University of Washington.'"/>