The Arctic is heating up, with air temperatures the hottest in 115 years, and the melting ice destroying walrus habitat and forcing some fish northward, a global scientific report said Tuesday. Air temperature anomalies over land were 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.3 Celsius) above average, "the highest since records began in 1900," said the 2015 Arctic Report Card, an annual peer-reviewed study issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Meanwhile, the annual sea ice maximum occurred February 25, about two weeks earlier than average, and was "the lowest extent recorded since records began in 1979." "Warming is happening more than twice as fast in the Arctic than anywhere else in the world. We know this is due to climate change, and its impacts are creating major challenges for Arctic communities," said NOAA chief scientist Rick Spinrad at the annual American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco. "We also know what happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic," he said.