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Children in Newtok, Alaska, Oct. 2019. Thawing permafrost and flooding have forced the community to move to Mertarvik. Photo: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Arctic's thawing permafrost could release an estimated 300 million to 600 million tons of net carbon into the atmosphere each year, according to NOAA's 2019 Arctic Report Card released Tuesday.

Why it matters: Consequences of ongoing changes in the Arctic's climate — accelerated by warming air temperatures and dwindling sea ice — will result in "altered weather patterns, increased greenhouse gas emissions and rising sea levels," the Washington Post reports.

  • Warming air temperatures are "driving changes in the Arctic environment that affect ecosystems and communities on a regional and global scale," the report reads.

Details: The Greenland Ice Sheet is contributing to global average sea-level rise, losing about 267 billion metric tons of ice each year.

  • Warming conditions in the Arctic promote the conversion of carbon stored in permafrost into greenhouse gases.
  • Arctic sea ice is shrinking in thickness, making it increasingly vulnerable to warming air and oceans.
  • May 2019 saw the fifth lowest North American Arctic snow cover in the 53 years since recording began, while June's snow cover was the third lowest.

Go deeper: Key science report shows "unprecedented" changes to oceans and frozen regions

Go deeper

Updated 31 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.