Arctic Report Card

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The map shows the difference between the amount of sunlight Greenland reflected in the summer of 2011 versus the average percent it reflected between 2000 to 2006. Virtually the entire ice sheet shows some change, with some areas reflecting close to 20 percent less light than a decade ago. The map is based on observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Arctic Report Card[1] presents annually updated, peer-reviewed information on recent observations of environmental conditions in the Arctic relative to historical records. NOAA has officially designated the Arctic Report Card as Influential Scientific Information.[2]

The audience for the Arctic Report Card is wide, including scientists, students, teachers, decision makers and the general public interested in Arctic environment and science.


The 2012 Arctic Report Card reflects the combined efforts of a record 141 authors from 15 different countries. The twenty essays were subject to independent peer-review organized by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) of the Arctic Council.

The 2012 Report Card essays are organized into 5 sections: Atmosphere; Sea Ice and Ocean; Marine Ecosystem, Terrestrial Ecosystem; and Terrestrial Cryosphere. Key highlights are featured on the Home Page, which includes a YouTube video that summarizes the Report Card.

A key feature of 2012 was that, with the exception of one or two episodes, Arctic-wide air temperatures were unremarkable in the context of the last decade, yet there was continuing and significant change in the cryosphere – the frozen world – which saw new records for low snow extent, low sea ice extent, extended duration and vast extent of ice sheet surface melting, and high permafrost temperatures. There are profound changes in both the marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and there is increasing evidence of strong connections between those ecosystems. In combination, the multiple observations of widespread and sustained changes provide evidence that the Arctic is entering a new state.


  1. ^ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s annually issued Arctic Report Card.
  2. ^ U.S. Government peer review policies