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New NOAA Web Site Keeps an Eye on the Arctic


November 23, 2004

A new NOAA Web site shows the past and present state of the Arctic climate and ecosystem at a glance. The Web site provides information about the ice, land, climate, marine ecosystem and human effects all with a historical context as well as current data. The Web site was introduced at the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Symposium in Iceland.

jpg arctic

"We thought that it was important to present recent Arctic changes in a historical context and show how diverse these changes are," said James Overland, an oceanographer at the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Wash., where the site was designed and is maintained.

An area of the world that still captures many imaginations, the Arctic is described on the Web site as a "vast, ice-covered ocean that is surrounded by treeless, frozen land, which is often covered with snow and ice" but that "teems with life including organisms living in the ice, fish and marine mammals living in the sea, birds, land animals such as wolves, caribou and polar bears, and human societies."

The ACIA, a multi-year, multi-government project that involved the efforts of hundreds of scientists, indicates that the Arctic is undergoing change that includes warmer spring temperatures, a loss of sea ice, and the conversion of tundra to wetlands and shrub areas. The ACIA meeting took place November 9.

Visitors to the NOAA Web site will be able to see current and historical data from reputable scientific sources, presented in an easy-to-read and understand narrative style.

"While we wanted to present information for scientists, we also wanted to make it inviting for non-scientists, such as the public and decision-makers, as well," said Nancy Soreide, PMEL's associate director for information technology. "NOAA is known as a resource for scientifically validated information."


On the Web:

NOAA Near-Realtime Arctic Change Indicator

NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory

NOAA Arctic Theme Page

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