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Climate Change in Earth’s Polar Regions. Ben Holt Oceans-Ice Group Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Arctic Ocean, 1982. Global Temperature Change Enhanced at Poles. Average 2001-2007 Surface Temperature Change, Relative to the 1951-1980 Average ( ◦ C). Sunlight Reflectivity on Ice and Ocean.

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Climate change in earth s polar regions
Climate Change in Earth’s Polar Regions

Ben Holt

Oceans-Ice Group

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Arctic Ocean, 1982


Global Temperature Change Enhanced at Poles

Average 2001-2007 Surface Temperature Change,

Relative to the 1951-1980 Average (◦C)


Sunlight Reflectivity on Ice and Ocean

Sunlight

100 %

Sunlight

100 %

Reflected 85%

Reflected 7%

Ice / Snow

Absorbs 15%

Water

Absorbs 93%

•Increased warming => less ice => more open water

=> warmer water =>more ice melt and so on


Arctic and Antarctic

Ice as key indicator of climate change

Barrow, Alaska

+30°F

South Pole

-80°F !!

/

Sea Ice (colored) and Land Ice (white)


Arctic Sea Ice – Reduced Extent

September 19, 2010

Satellite Record

11.5 % Reduction Per Decade since 1979


Arctic Sea Ice Thickness

Submarine and Satellite Record 1958-2007

•Sea ice thickness shows decadal thinning – over 40 %

Reference: Kwok & Rothrock, Geophysical Research Letters, 2009


Land Ice

Glaciers, Greenland, Antarctica

~Water stored above sea level


Greenland Ice Mass Loss 2002-2009

Derived From NASA GRACE Gravity Mission

Greenland

Change in Ice Mass Loss Gigatons

Velicogna, Geophysical Research Letters, 2009

•Contributes to sea level rise

J. Wahr, U. Colorado


2009 NOAA Arctic Report Card

“Warming of the Arctic continues to be widespread,

and in some cases, dramatic.

Linkages between air, land, sea, and biology are evident.”



Evidence and Impact of Arctic Warming

•Sea ice – thinning (>40%) and shrinking (11.5% / decade)

•Permafrost melting – also releases methane

•Land ice melting – sea level change

•Loss of sea ice – impacts habitat of polar bears, walruses

•Ecosystem shifts – from Arctic to subarctic communities

•Increase human activities – shipping and oil production


Sources, References

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

http:www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news

http://nsidc.org

http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/


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