Grace Smith | August 19, 2022
For years, scientists and researchers have thought the Arctic is warming twice as quickly as the rest of the world, but a new study published in Nature Communications Earth & Environment on August 11 found that the Arctic is actually warming four times faster than the globe in the past 43 years. Some areas of the Arctic Ocean are reaching up to seven times as fast.
After defining the Arctic in the study being the area known as the Arctic Circle — because that is how the Arctic is most commonly perceived by the public — researchers calculated trends in the Arctic Circle between 1979 to 2021 and discovered that the Arctic is warming 3.7 to 4.1 degrees faster than the rest of the world.
“While the magnitude of Arctic amplification is dependent to some degree on how the Arctic region is defined, and by the period of time used in the calculation, the climate models were found to underestimate Arctic amplification almost independent of the definition”, Mika Rantanen, a researcher and author involved in the study, said in a press release.
The loop that has been known to increase warming in the Arctic — melting ice causes the ocean to absorb more radiation, which then, in turn, causes more sea ice to shrink — is happening at a faster rate than previously thought.
Rantanen told CBS News that the reason for the significant jump in findings is that other researchers may have been using models that underestimate the impact of Arctic amplification — the increased warming near the Arctic Ocean. He also said it is important to understand the Arctic’s sensitivity to warming.