Study: Arctic getting darker, making Earth warmer

Study: Arctic getting darker, making Earth warmer

Study: Arctic getting darker, making Earth warmer
Photo by Rear Admiral Harley D. Nygren, NOAA Corps, ret., courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Arctic isn’t nearly as bright and white as it used to be because of more ice melting in the ocean, and that’s turning out to be a global problem, a new study says.

With more dark, open water in the summer, less of the sun’s heat is reflected back into space. So the entire Earth is absorbing more heat than expected, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

That extra absorbed energy is so big that it measures about one-quarter of the entire heat-trapping effect of carbon dioxide, said the study’s lead author, Ian Eisenman, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California.

The Arctic grew eight per cent darker between 1979 and 2011, Eisenman found, measuring how much sunlight is reflected back into space.

“Basically, it means more warming,” Eisenman said in an interview.

The North Pole region is an ocean that mostly is crusted at the top with ice that shrinks in the summer and grows back in the fall. At its peak melt in September, the ice has shrunk on average by nearly 35,000 square miles — about the size of Maine — per year since 1979.

Snow-covered ice reflects several times more heat than dark, open ocean, which replaces the ice when it melts, Eisenman said.

As more summer sunlight dumps into the ocean, the water gets warmer, and ittakes longer forice to form again in the fall, Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland said in an email. He was not part of the study.

While earlier studies used computer models, Eisenman said his is the first to use satellite measurements to gauge sunlight reflection and to take into account cloud cover. The results show the darkening is as much as two to three times bigger than previous estimates, he said.

Box and University of Colorado ice scientist Waleed Abdalati, who was not part of the research, called the work important in understanding how much heat is getting trapped on Earth.

PNAS journal:


3 thoughts on “Study: Arctic getting darker, making Earth warmer

  1. Borenstein has one of the quickest growing noses in the Climate Alarmist crew.

    ‘Record return of Arctic ice cap as it grows by 60% in a year with top scientists warning of global COOLING’

    Almost a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than in 2012

    BBC reported in 2007 global warming would leave Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013

  2. The climate change “deniers” will refuse to believe global warming is real even when the water is lapping at their doorsteps……..
    Arizona, 2114…..the new beach front Mecca.
    You heard it here first……….

    1. There isn’t much solar insolation in the arctic. The change in albedo, though large, isn’t that big of a deal. Most of the warmth that reaches the arctic is from the tropics. It gets there by the wind and the ocean currents. What most people don’t realize is that horrendous storms, like hurricanes, rip through the arctic. There isn’t much in the way of weather stations or observers to measure or report on that. To al large degree, the recent ice loss in the arctic was not that the ice melted in the arctic, but that the ice broke up and was EXPORTED past Greenland and Alaska, where it met warmer water and melted. The ice was exported AS ICE, by winds and currents. On the other hand, the arctic is really the only place on earth that has experienced ANY warming… Overall, the earth has not warmed at all for 17 and a half years (RSS UAH). In fact, compared to the size of the measurement error, one could say that the earth hasn’t warmed TO A STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT degree, for 25 to 30 years (depends upon the data set used, and the significance). The 2006 declaration of “threatened” for the polar bears was false; it ignored ALREADY KNOWN movements of the bear populations. Oddly enough, the global sea ice extent is above “normal”, not below, for the past several years while the arctic was a little bit below “normal” (our understanding of “normal” for the arctic ice extent is way too short of a time period… there have been many times that the arctic was warmer, as much as EIGHT DEGREES CELCIUS above what it is today… recent mud cores in a “russian” arctic meteor-impact lake show a vibrant boreal forest “up there” where we have permafrost, today… the world didn’t end then, and it isn’t going to end now. This is all normal, for the earth; we humans just haven’t been around enough to see what “normal” really is. The ice cores really show this human-caused-CO2 upset is total BS. CO2 has been higher in the past; CO2 rise results from warming, it doesn’t CAUSE it (the effect of CO2 is very significant from zero PPM to about 20 or 30 PPM, after that, for each nn PPM increase of CO2, the incremental effect is progressively smaller. It’s called DIMINISHING RETURNS.) The cores show that Temp rises precede CO2 rises (by as much as 800 years). So, CO2 is beneficial, please put more into the atmosphere today. The arctic is fine, the polar bears (since hunting was stopped) are fine, even too numerous… the world is NOT warming – It isn’t a “pause” its a “peak” (cooling is something to fear; warming isn’t a big deal). The earth is a stable, self-regulating system that is thermostatically controlled by emergent weather phenomena (namely, thunderstorms). Now that I’ve calmed your fears, start worrying about the unsustainable spending that will ruin our grandchildren’s lives – long before the “global warming” was ever predicted to ruin their lives.

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