Svalbard warming and sea ice decline linked / News / The Foreigner

Svalbard warming and sea ice decline linked. Scientists may have found why the archipelago famous for its permafrost and polar bears has been getting warmer than other places in the region. Temperatures have averaged 1.7 to 2.5 degrees higher in the last 15 years than they did between 1971 and 2000. “Spitsbergen has experienced some of the most severe temperature changes in the Arctic during the last three decades,” write researchers.

arctic, svalbard, globalwarming, environment, c02, atmosphere, climatechange, spitsbergen, paywall



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Svalbard warming and sea ice decline linked

Published on Thursday, 13th October, 2016 at 17:40 under the news category, by Sarah Bostock.
Last Updated on 13th October 2016 at 21:16.

Scientists may have found why the archipelago famous for its permafrost and polar bears has been getting warmer than other places in the region.

Earth
Earth
Photo: NASA/Wikimedia Commons


Temperatures have averaged 1.7 to 2.5 degrees higher in the last 15 years than they did between 1971 and 2000.

“Spitsbergen has experienced some of the most severe temperature changes in the Arctic during the last three decades,” write researchers.

The study, undertaken regionally around Spitsbergen and locally in three fjords, found that the greatest temperature increases are in winter.

Ketil Isaksen at Norwegian Meteorological Institute is one of the scientists involved in the inquiry.

“We were incredibly excited before we started. Perhaps the effect was caused by low pressure that brought this hot air with it from the south. We had no clear prior opinion on this,” he told NRK.

Their study lists three key points. These are:

  • The recent warming in Spitsbergen is mainly linked to changes in air mass characteristics, and not to changes in atmospheric circulation
  • Changes in air mass characteristics are associated with sea-ice decline east and north of Spitsbergen, especially in winter
  • Six of 21 atmospheric circulation types contribute 80 per cent of the recent warming  

According to researchers, “the relationship between the land-based surface air temperature (SAT) and local and regional SIC (sea ice concentration) was highly significant, particularly for the most contributing AC (atmospheric circulation) types.”

“The high correlation between SAT and SIC for air masses from east and north of Spitsbergen, suggest that a major part of the atmospheric warming observed in Spitsbergen is driven by heat exchange from the larger open water area in the Barents Sea and region north of Spitsbergen,” they write in their study.

Dark ocean surfaces absorb more heat than white reflective ice does, which increases the amount of solar heating.

Their results also show that changes in how often atmospheric circulation occurs “play a minor role to the total recent surface warming.”

“Thus, the strong warming in Spitsbergen the latest decades is not driven by increased frequencies of “warm” AC types, but rather from sea-ice decline, higher SSTs and a general background warming (general global temperature rise),” conclude the researchers.

The five researchers’ results are published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.




Published on Thursday, 13th October, 2016 at 17:40 under the news category, by Sarah Bostock.
Last updated on 13th October 2016 at 21:16.

This post has the following tags: arctic, svalbard, globalwarming, environment, c02, atmosphere, climatechange, spitsbergen, paywall.





  
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