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Why the Arctic Is Warming Faster than the Rest of Earth

Arctic, a new scientific study and “albedo”.

Arctic (North Pole) is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Ice is melting both inland and at sea. You may have seen that there is vegetation taking over vast parts of inland Artic. Here are two interesting articles and some interesting pictures by Wired: “Beautiful Yet Unnerving Photos of the Arctic Getting Greener” e “These Trees Are Spreading North in Alaska. That’s Not Good”.

Also interesting, a recent scientific study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters showed that the Arctic hasn’t warmed at a consistent rate over the last few decades. According to research scientists there were two discrete spikes: one around 1985 and another around 1999. It is not clear what caused these sudden spikes but scientists believe that the first one was probably due to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the the second may have been due to changing ocean currents.

Regardless of these spikes, as already said the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet. And scientists have a good handle on what’s causing the overall Arctic warming, though. Sea ice has a very high “albedo,” meaning it reflects a lot of the sun’s radiation while the underlying seawater has a low "albedo", meaning it absorbs that energy, the sun’s radiation. In other words, If you see something of white colour, snow for example, this is because all colours of the visible spectrum are being reflected to your eyes. If what you see is black - like the Arctic sea, quite dark - this is because what you are looking at is absorbing all colours of the visible spectrum.

So as that ice melts, the "albedo" of the Arctic decreases, temperatures raise, accelerate melting, in a vicious circle.

Click here for another article we posted in 2021 about “albedo”, which indicated that the Earth as a whole is now reflecting about half a watt less light per square meter than it was 20 years ago, with most of the drop occurring in the last three years. This is equivalent to a 0.5% reduction in Earth reflection.

Click on the image below to read the article from Wired "Why the Arctic Is Warming 4 Times as Fast as the Rest of Earth" and here in the sequence to access data and the scientific paper reporting the Arctic temperature spikes “Annual Mean Arctic Amplification 1970-2020: Observed and simulated by CMIP6 climate models” by researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA), University of East Anglia (UK), University of Gothenburg (Sweden), University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba (Australia) PAR Associates (USA), University of Washington (USA) and Dalhousie University (Canada)


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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