Chunks of grassy sod are seen slipping down the slope of an eroding permafrost bluff at Utqiagvik on Aug. 4. The previous week, Utqiagvik has a record one-day rainfall. Rain, by loosening the soil and allowing heat to percolate below, speeds permafrost thaw. 

Disruptions in Alaska over the last year, some of them threatening health and safety of people, are part of the ongoing pattern of rapid warming and transformation of the Arctic, said an annual report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Last December’s record-wet weather in Fairbanks, marked by crushing snow loads and winter rain that left a thick, long-lasting layer of ice on the ground, was one of those disruptions. So were the August deluge that produced the rainiest day on record in Utqiagvik, the record-setting wildfires on the tundra of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and another year of seabird die-offs in the Bering Strait region region are also among the effects in Alaska of dramatic climate change in the northernmost part of the world, according to NOAA’s 2022 Arctic Report Card, released on Tuesday.

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