Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Science Says: Arctic Is Getting Darker, Absorbing More Heat

Climate scientists have hypothesized for decades that melting sea ice at the North Pole hastens global warming by decreasing the amount of heat from the sun that’s reflected back into space. According to a new study conducted at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, between 1979 and 2011 the average levels of Arctic albedo—the technical term for the fraction of solar energy reflected from Earth’s surface—decreased from 52 percent to 48 percent.  “That is big—unexpectedly big,” said Ian Eisenmen, a climate scientist and coauthor of the study, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The amount of heat produced by this loss in albedo is equal to “roughly 25 percent of the average global warming currently occurring due to increased carbon dioxide levels,” reports Live Science.

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