Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Is Arctic Sea Ice Melting Faster Than Predicted? NOAA Probing Arctic Pollution

Date:
April 9, 2008
Source:
National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration
Summary:
Scientists are now flying through springtime Arctic pollution to find out why the region is warming -- and summertime sea ice is melting -- faster than predicted. Some 35 NOAA researchers are gathering with government and university colleagues in Fairbanks, Alaska, to conduct the study.

Pollutants from industry, transportation, and biomass burning form an "Arctic Haze" over much of the polar region in winter and spring.
Credit: NOAA

NOAA scientists are now flying through springtime Arctic pollution to find out why the region is warming — and summertime sea ice is melting — faster than predicted. Some 35 NOAA researchers are gathering with government and university colleagues in Fairbanks, Alaska, to conduct the study through April 23.

“The Arctic is changing before our eyes,” said A.R. Ravishankara, director of the chemistry division at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. “Capturing in detail the processes behind this large and surprisingly rapid transformation is a unique opportunity for understanding climate changes occurring elsewhere.”

Observations from instruments on the ground, balloons, and satellites show the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the globe. Summer sea-ice extent has decreased by nearly 40 percent compared to the 1979–2000 average, and the ice is thinning.

Industry, transportation, and biomass burning in North America, Europe, and Asia are emitting trace gases and tiny airborne particles that are polluting the polar region, forming an “Arctic Haze” every winter and spring. Scientists suspect these pollutants are speeding up the polar melt.

Called ARCPAC (Aerosol, Radiation, and Cloud Processes affecting Arctic Climate Change), the project is a NOAA contribution to International Polar Year 2008. The experiment will be coordinated with the agency’s long-term climate monitoring station at Barrow, Alaska, and with simultaneous projects conducted by NASA and the Department of Energy. 

“This is our first airborne deployment of a powerful new suite of instruments in the Arctic,” said ARCPAC lead scientist Dan Murphy, also of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory. “When we analyze all the data, we’ll be able to piece together the equivalent of a ‘high-def’ movie of the atmosphere as springtime sunlight warms the region and sparks a chain of chemical reactions.”

Scientists aboard the NOAA WP-3D research aircraft will use nearly 30 airborne sensors to answer questions about airborne particles, altered clouds, low-altitude ozone, and soot deposited on snow. All are produced or affected by human activities and may be playing key roles in the rapid warming. 

In a related study, also taking place this month, the NOAA-led International Chemistry Experiment in the Arctic Lower Troposphere (ICEALOT) will gather shipboard measurements of atmospheric fine particles and trace gases in the air above the North Greenland and Barents seas, which are closer to sources than the ARCPAC study area. NOAA scientists are eager to compare the pollution north of Alaska with the more recent emissions near Europe.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration. "Why Is Arctic Sea Ice Melting Faster Than Predicted? NOAA Probing Arctic Pollution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407132120.htm>.
National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration. (2008, April 9). Why Is Arctic Sea Ice Melting Faster Than Predicted? NOAA Probing Arctic Pollution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407132120.htm
National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration. "Why Is Arctic Sea Ice Melting Faster Than Predicted? NOAA Probing Arctic Pollution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407132120.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
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