Publication Date December 13, 2016

The Arctic is reeling from its warmest year since at least 1900

Arctic temperature anomalies for Oct 2015 to Sept 2016. Image: NOAA

Arctic climate change went into overdrive in 2016, with record high temperatures eclipsing anything seen since at least 1900. Accompanying the record warmth were freak losses of sea ice, melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet and a host of cascading feedbacks that scientists have been warning about for years.

The record warm year reflects both human-caused global warming, which is hitting the Arctic harder than almost any other region on Earth, as well as natural weather variability that pumped even more heat into the region this year. 

Scientists detailed the changes on Tuesday with the release of an annual peer-reviewed report that amounts to a physical of the Arctic environment, known as the "Arctic Report Card." 

Due to human-caused global warming and natural weather patterns that acted to enhance such warming, the region scored an extremely poor grade this year.