Unusual Weather Accelerates Arctic Sea Ice Loss

2019-08-23T13:53:51+00:00 January 18, 2018|
(Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

(Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

New research suggests weather anomalies are to blame for intense periods of accelerating Arctic sea ice loss.

(From UPI/ By Brooks Hays) — While research has confirmed links between global warming, rising Arctic temperatures and ongoing sea ice loss, variability remains. A pair of new studies conducted by Swiss scientists suggests unusual weather patterns account for the variability.

Most recently, researchers were able to show a strong link between high pressure systems and accelerated ice melting during the summers of 2007 and 2012.

While summer sea ice minimums in the Arctic have been on the general decline for several decades, 2007 and 2012 featured extreme melting. Scientists have struggled to account for the outliers

When scientists compared regional weather patterns with periods of accelerated melting during the two summers, they found low pressure systems over the North Atlantic and North Pacific triggered the injection of air masses into the Arctic atmosphere. The injections raised the height of the tropopause, the boundary layer separating the troposphere and stratosphere. The influx of air caused high pressure systems to develop below, causing several days of cloudless skies.

The unusual weather allowed solar radiation to melt the sea ice nonstop for nearly two weeks. During the studied periods of high pressure, sea ice receded and thinned at accelerated rates.

“The level of solar radiation is the main factor in the melting of the ice in summer,” Heini Wernli, an atmospheric scientist at ETH Zurich, said in a news release.

Wernli and his colleagues published their findings this week in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Wernli also led an investigation of melting during a recent Arctic winter. In winter, Arctic sea ice grows. Its size is a product of the previous summer’s melting rates and growth rates during the winter.

But in the winter of 2015 and 2016…

Read the full article here: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2018/01/16/Unusual-weather-accelerates-Arctic-sea-ice-loss/7701516109336/