As Sea Ice Shrinks, the Arctic Gets Warmer and Wetter, Study Finds
Alaska Dispatch News
August 9, 2015
The Arctic became warmer and wetter since the beginning of the 21st century, a self-reinforcing trend likely to continue because it is linked to sea-ice melt and more persistent open-water conditions in the world’s northern ocean, a newly published study concludes.
Data from NASA shows that average surface temperatures across the Arctic Ocean increased an average of 0.16 degrees Celsius per year from 2003 to 2013, and air temperatures rose 0.09 degrees Celsius annually over the same period, says the study, published online in Geophysical Research Letters.
The changes weren’t evenly distributed, though. They were dominated by large increases in the November-to-April period, during which Arctic-wide surface temperatures rose 2.5 degrees Celsius and air temperatures rose 1.5 degrees Celsius from 2003 to 2013.
November saw the biggest increases in “skin temperature” (defined as temperature at the Earth’s surface), and air temperature, with an average annual rise of 0.42 degrees Celsius on the surface and 0.32 degrees Celsius in the air, said the study, by Linette Boisvert of the NASA-affiliated Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center at the University of Maryland and Julienne Stroeve, a research scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado.