Reduced sea ice, warming elevate Arctic temperatures

July 8th, 2012 - 1:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, July 8 (IANS) Melting sea ice and global warming are elevating Arctic temperatures up to four times faster than the global average, according to latest research.

Ian Simmonds, professor from the University of Melbourne School of Earth Sciences and study co-author, said the findings showed this combination at ground and atmospheric levels played a key role in elevating Arctic warming rates.

“Loss of sea ice contributes to ground level warming while global warming intensifies atmospheric circulation and contributes to increased temperatures higher in the Arctic atmosphere,” Simmonds was quoted as saying in the journals Geophysical Research Letters and Nature.

James Screen from the School of Earth Sciences, who led the study, said: “When (Arctic) is heated, it reflects most of the incoming sunlight back into space. When the sea ice melts, more heat is absorbed by the water. The warmer water then heats the atmosphere above it,” said a university statement.

Simmonds said as temperatures increase across the globe, so does the intensity of atmospheric circulation. “This circulation transports energy to the Arctic region, increasing temperatures further up in the atmosphere.”

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