The Arctic Report Cards are a timely source of clear, reliable and concise information on the state of the Arctic. The 2009 Arctic Report Cards was released last week.

The yearly report shows the state of the Arctic right now. Some of the main findings are that the high arctic fauna is impacted by the loss of sea ice. It is observed that there are reduced survival rates for some Polar Bears populations and Walruses are seen on land in new areas and in unusually large numbers. It is also observed that many wild Caribou herds are in decline.

The Arctic Report Cards show that long term rise in permafrost temperatures has recently stabilized, but the loss of ice in the Greenland ice sheet continues.

On the sea it is noticed that multi-year sea ice is being replaced by first year sea ice and that the upper ocean remains warmer and less salty than before.

The report cards are a collaboration between NOAA and the CBMP and provide a summary of the latest state and trends of various elements of the Arctic system.  The CBMP solicits, compiles and edits the biology section of the report cards.

Material presented in the Report Card is prepared by an international team of scientists and is peer-reviewed by topical experts of the Climate Experts Group (AMAP) of the Arctic Council. The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) provides collaborative support through the delivery and editing of the biological elements of the Report Card. 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 web-based format facilitates future timely updates of the content.

"The Arctic Report Cards are a timely source of clear, reliable and concise information on the State of the Arctic", said executive secretary in the Arctic Council working group CAFF, Tom Barry when he was asked shortly to explain what the Arctic Report Cards are.

Photo: Gary Donaldson