Geoscience Policy Monthly Review
july 2013

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CRS report on changes in the Arctic

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report on July 5, 2013, which provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress. Prompted by concerns over diminishing sea ice, the report addresses the effects of increased human activity in the Arctic. Although the withdrawal of sea ice raises concerns about climate change, it also provides new opportunities for oil, gas, and mineral resources, trade routes, tourism, and other activities while raising issues of national security.

The report states that the Arctic is now 1.8º F warmer than the climate average from 1961 to 1990, and seasonal temperatures from October to November are 9º F warmer. Furthermore, the report found that most warming in the last few decades is likely caused by human-related greenhouse gas emissions.