The Arctic is being hit by melting ice, hotter air and dying wildlife, according to a US government report on the impact of climate change there. A new wind circulation pattern is blowing more warm air towards the North Pole than in the 20th Century, scientists found.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report found that in 2007 winter and spring temperatures were “all above average throughout the whole Arctic and all at the same time” unlike in previous years.

Shrubs are now growing in tundra areas while caribou herds are dwindling in Canada and parts of Alaska. The report stresses that the fate of the Arctic affects the entire planet. “This is an unusual feature and it looks like the beginning of a signal from global warming,” the NOAA’s James Overland told reporters.

Err – but I thought the skeptics said that Greenland’s ice cap was expanding…..