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We have underestimated the Arctic’s melting point



North Pole

Credit: CC0 public domain

Arctic sea ice is melting much faster than expected. Today’s climate models do not yet incorporate the rapid rise in temperature that has occurred in the past 40 years. This, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen and other organizations.

Temperatures in the Arctic Ocean between Canada, Russia and Europe are warming faster than climate models researchers can predict.

Over the past 40 years, temperatures have risen by one degree per decade, and even more in the Barents Sea and around the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, where temperatures have risen 1

.5 degrees per decade during the period. period.

This is the conclusion of a new study published above Nature Climate change.

Professor Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen explained: “Our analysis of Arctic Ocean conditions showed that we underestimated the rate of increase in atmospheric temperature that was closest to sea level, which ultimately causing the sea ice to disappear faster than we expected. at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institutet (NBI) and is one of the researchers of the study.

Together with colleagues NBI and researchers from the Universities of Bergen and Oslo, the Danish Metrology Institute and the Australian National University, he compared the current temperature changes in the Arctic with climatic variations. that we know, such as Greenland during the ice age between 120,000-11,000 years ago.

“The sudden increase in temperature currently occurring in the Arctic is only observed during the last ice age. During that time, ice core analyzes show that the temperature on the Greenland Ice Sheet has increased a lot. times, from 10 to 12 degrees, on a Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen explained the time period from 40 to 100 years.

He stressed that the importance of a high temperature rise has not yet been fully appreciated. And, in general, there must be more focus on the Arctic and less global warming.

Climate models have to take into account sudden changes

So far, climate models predict that the Arctic temperature will rise slowly and steadily. However, the researchers’ analysis proved that these changes were occurring at a much faster rate than expected.

“We looked at climate models analyzed and evaluated by the United Nations Climate Commission. Only worst case models, with the highest carbon dioxide emissions, are close to what. Our temperature measurements show the past 40 years, from Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen from 1979 to present day.

Going forward, more attention needs to be given to being able to simulate the effects of sudden climate change on the Arctic. Doing so will allow us to create better models that can accurately predict the temperature rise:

“Changes happen so quickly during the summer months that sea ice is likely to disappear faster than most climate models have predicted,” said Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen. “We must continue to closely monitor the temperature change and incorporate the right climate processes into these models.” He concluded:

“Hence, implementing the successful GHG emission reductions needed to meet the Paris Agreement is essential to ensuring an Arctic sea ice all year round.”


The highest temperature ever recorded in the Norwegian Arctic archipelago


More information:
Eystein Jansen et al. Past perspectives on the current era of sudden climate change in the Arctic, Nature Climate change (Year 2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41558-020-0860-7

Provided by Niels Bohr Institute



Quote: New research warns: We have underestimated the Arctic’s melting speed (2020, August 10) retrieved August 10, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020 -08-underesceptions-pace-arctic.html

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