Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Counting down to Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

In the Arctic, climate change is accelerating at a frightening pace because it’s warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. One of the obvious indicators of this is melting Arctic sea ice.

Thirty years ago the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean was mostly old, thick ice that survived year-round. It was surrounded by seasonal ice that was younger, thinner, and more vulnerable to changing temperatures. But with climate change, Arctic sea ice can't withstand the warming heat in the summer.
Sea ice is bright and reflective: more than 80 percent of the sunlight that hits it is reflected back into space. But when sea ice melts, the dark ocean surface is exposed which absorbs 90 percent of the sunlight striking it ... the albedo effect. And when oceans become warmer, more sea ice melts, and this is another positive feedback loop.

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