Photograph: Natalie Thomas/Reuters

The Arctic’s rapid transformation into a less frozen, hotter and biologically altered place has been further exacerbated by a year of wildfires, soaring temperatures and loss of ice, US scientists have reported.

The planet’s northern polar region recorded its second hottest 12-month period to September 2020, with the warmest temperatures since 1900 all now occurring within the past seven years, according to an annual Arctic report card issued by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).

The Arctic is heating up at a rate around double that of the global average, due to the human-caused climate crisis.

Some places were abnormally hot in 2020, with parts of Siberia 9F (5C) above the long-term average in the first half of

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