Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Arctic warming is accelerating




Last week NOAA released its Arctic Report Card: Update for 2012. The news is generally bad.
In 2012:
  • 97% of the Greenland ice sheet's surface melted. In four days.
  • the Arctic sea ice pack melted at alarming rates this summer. See also here.
  • the land and ocean surfaces are darker than normal - which means they are absorbing more sunlight and warming faster than normal.
As the journal Nature quotes one of the report's editors on its website:
The darkening of the surface creates a positive feedback that explains why the Arctic is warming twice as quickly as lower latitudes . . . This is what we call the Arctic amplification of global warming, a phenomenon that was predicted 30 years ago, which we’re now seeing happening in a significant way.
 And arctic fox and lemmings (no symbolism there) populations are dropping.

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