Contact: Jana Goldman

NOAA News Releases 2004
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A new NOAA Web site shows the past and present state of the Arctic climate and ecosystem at a glance. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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 (ACIA) Symposium Nov. 9 in Iceland.

“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 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 tree-less, 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.

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.”

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through research to better understand atmospheric and climate variability and to manage wisely our nation's coastal and marine resources.

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