Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Find That Humans May Be Contributing To Retreat Of The Arctic Sea Ice

Date:
December 6, 1999
Source:
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center -- EOS
Summary:
For the first time, scientists placed space-based observations of Arctic sea ice retreats into a much longer-term context and have examined the likelihood that the sea ice decreases are in part because of human-caused climate change.

For the first time, scientists placed space-based observations of Arctic sea ice retreats into a much longer-term context and have examined the likelihood that the sea ice decreases are in part because of human-caused climate change.

Related Articles


The team, led by Konstantin Vinnikov of the University of Maryland, used computer climate models to examine whether the decreases observed in the ice cover of the Arctic over the past few decades are the result primarily of natural climate changes or might also be influenced by human-induced global warming, says Dr. Claire Parkinson, a climatologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, Md.) and one of the co-authors of the study.

The team used spacecraft observed and ground-based data to measure sea ice retreats. Scientists used a computer model to simulate how much ice there would be without human-added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

"Satellite data from November 1978 through March 1998 (19.4 years) reveal that the Arctic ice extent overall has shown a downward trend of 37,000 square kilometers per year, meaning a loss each year of an ice area well exceeding the combined areas of the states of Maryland and Delaware. The total loss over 19.4 years would be an area exceeding the size of Texas," said Parkinson. To put this into a longer-term context, the team used a 5,000-year run of a global climate model of NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University. They found from this 5,000-year run that the probability of getting a negative trend over 19.4 years as large as that found from the satellite data was less than two percent, suggesting that the negative trend derives from more than just natural variability.

The team then examined outputs from computer simulations that include greenhouse gas increases, tending to warm the atmosphere, and aerosol increases, tending to cool the atmosphere. The model results with these human-induced changes included show atmospheric temperature increases and a much better match with the observed sea ice decreases than the model results simulating natural variability, suggesting that the Arctic sea ice decreases could partially be in response to increasing greenhouse gas levels during the second half of the twentieth century. Vinnikov says that the results suggest that melting Arctic sea ice is probably related to human-induced global warming.

"We only have satellite data for a relatively short period of time," says Parkinson. "It was interesting to be able to put the satellite data into a longer term context by using the model simulations."

The study, by a team of meteorologists, physicists, and climatologists from the University of Maryland, Rutgers University, NOAA, the University of Illinois, NASA, the Hadley Center in Great Britain, and the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in Russia, will appear in the Dec. 3 issue of Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center -- EOS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center -- EOS. "Scientists Find That Humans May Be Contributing To Retreat Of The Arctic Sea Ice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991206073549.htm>.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center -- EOS. (1999, December 6). Scientists Find That Humans May Be Contributing To Retreat Of The Arctic Sea Ice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991206073549.htm
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center -- EOS. "Scientists Find That Humans May Be Contributing To Retreat Of The Arctic Sea Ice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991206073549.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Hot Months, 1 Warm Year And All The Arguments To Follow

5 Hot Months, 1 Warm Year And All The Arguments To Follow

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) The NOAA released statistics Thursday showing October was the fifth month this year with record temps and 2014 will likely be the hottest on record. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nations Pledge $9.3 Bn for Green Climate Fund

Nations Pledge $9.3 Bn for Green Climate Fund

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) Nations meeting in Berlin pledge $9.3 billion (7.4 bn euros) for a climate fund to help poor countries cut emissions and prepare for global warming, just shy of a $10bn target. Duration: 00:46 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins