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article imageArctic ice declining faster than predicted by most climate models

By Tim Sandle     Sep 2, 2019 in Environment
Arctic sea-ice is decreasing more quickly than previous models suggested, and this is happening in conjunction with a rise in global surface warming, according to new research. This is because Arctic warming is occurring faster than the global average.
From the new findings, climate projections now suggest that Arctic summer sea-ice could disappear within the course of the next fifty or even thirty years, unless urgent action is taken. The findings show the situation to be worse that many other models of the impact of global warming upon the Arctic; this is because the new research finds a faster rate of global warming in the Arctic region, ahead of global averages. One reason for this may be due to increasing air temperatures and precipitation, which are drivers of major changes in various components of the Arctic system.
The researchers are basing this on a 200-year assessment of past sea-ice variability from High Arctic Svalbard (located at 79.9°N). Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds, and also features polar bears, reindeer, and the Arctic fox.
The data is drawn from a study of long-lived encrusting coralline algae (red algae in the order Corallinales). By assessing annual growth and chemical residues in this photosynthesizing benthic marine plant, important data can be gathered. This is because the algae are very dependent upon light availability on the shallow seafloor, and this provides information about the duration of seasonal sea-ice cover.
The new research has been published in the journal Geology. The research paper is titled "Early start of 20th-century Arctic sea-ice decline recorded in Svalbard coralline algae."
Related research also shows that Arctic sea ice could disappear completely through September during each summer if average global temperatures increase by as little as 2 degrees. This temperature increase is likely should global warming continue at its current rate.
More about Arctic, Arctic ice melt, Ice, Global warming
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