Mark Serreze: Impact of melt may extend beyond the pole

Perhaps the most visible sign of climate change is the Arctic's shrinking sea ice cover. Concerns are growing that we are reaching a point at which the transition to an ice-free Arctic Ocean in summer becomes a rapid one.

Projections of how the climate will change in the 21st century, as humans load the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, are based largely on numerical models.

Even our early climate-change models developed in the late 1970s told us that the Arctic would suffer most from the surface warming that came with adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and that this would be intimately tied to the shrinking of its sea ice cover.

This is called Arctic amplification and when we look at our climate records, that is exactly what we see: the climate warming, with the strongest rises in temperature in the Arctic, and those rises linked to the loss of sea ice cover – just as projected 30 years ago.

We view the emerging Arctic amplification recorded in this study as but a harbinger of a more pronounced signal that will appear in the near future, with impacts that may extend well beyond the Arctic Ocean.

Mark Serreze is a researcher for the National Snow and Ice Data Centre, University of Colorado

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in