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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

The Arctic and Greenland are Melting Fast

The Arctic and Greenland are Melting Fast

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, December 15, 2015/Categories: natural history, sustainability, environment, climate change

                         Circumpolar Arctic Map  (credit: NOAA)
The UN climate meetings have barely concluded in Paris and ice melting analysis from Greenland and the Arctic indicate the agreement comes none too soon. Two studies released by Science Magazine's early global EurekAlert service highlight this Arctic research.

The first investigation by researchers at Columbia University shows that:

"Greenland's glaciers are retreating quickly and in historical terms very quickly with declines over the past century, having retreated least twice as fast as any other time in the past 9,500 years. Our study provides new evidence for just how sensitive Greenland's glaciers are to temperature, showing that they responded quickly to past abrupt cooling and warming periods, some only lasting decades."

Greenland Ice Changes on Ice Cap and Glacial Fjord Opening  (credit: NOAA & NASA)

                                       Jakobshavn Glacier, ice retreat 1851-2010  (credit: NASA)

Likewise in the second study by NOAA and the University of Colorado researchers showed that:

"Clouds can increase warming in the Arctic region more than expected and deliver an unexpected double-whammy to the climate system" by accelerated melting via the climate equivalent of a feedback loop.

                                   Arctic Sea Ice melting and cloud cover (credit: NOAA)

The changes in the Arctic are happening so fast NOAA has established an Arctic Report Card to catalog all the changes that are being observed and recorded. According to the agency:

"The maximum sea ice extent
inn February 2015 was 15 days earlier than average and the lowest value on record (1979-present). Minimum ice extent in September was the 4th lowest on record and sea ice continues to be younger and thinner with February and March having twice as much first-year ice as there was 30 years ago."

A video explains some of the NOAA 2015 findings:

Visual references are a good way to understand new research results where geology, climatology, and geographic changes intersect. This environmental analysis will have far wider impact than just in the Arctic.


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