Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Arctic warming linked to combination of reduced sea ice and global atmospheric warming


The combination of melting sea ice and global atmospheric warming are contributing to the high rate of warming in the Arctic, where temperatures are increasing up to four times faster than the global average, a new University of Melbourne study has shown.
Professor Ian Simmonds from the University of Melbourne’s School of Earth Sciences co-authored the study and said the new information showed this combined effect at both ground and atmospheric level played a key role in increasing the rate of warming in the Arctic.

“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,” Professor Simmonds said.

Lead author, Dr James Screen of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne said the sea ice acted like a shiny lid on the Arctic Ocean.

“When it 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,” he said.

Professor 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,” he said.

“Water vapour is a very strong greenhouse gas. As the atmosphere warms it can hold more moisture, which acts as a positive feedback signal, increasing the greenhouse effect. However, in the cold Arctic where there is less moisture in the air, this positive feedback is much weaker hence the ‘direct’ greenhouse effect is smaller in the Arctic than elsewhere.

“Even though the Arctic region has a relatively small greenhouse effect, the effect of the melted ice combined with greater transports of heat from the south are more than enough to make up for this modest ‘local’ greenhouse warming.”

The study was published in the prestigious Geophysical Research Letters and featured in Nature as one of ‘The most viewed papers in science’.

More information:

Louise Bennet
Media Unit
T: +613 9035 3372
M: +61 412 975 350

Louise Bennet | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
26.10.2016 | University of California - Irvine

nachricht Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>