Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reduced sea ice disturbs balance of greenhouse gases

Date:
February 18, 2013
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
The widespread reduction in Arctic sea ice is causing significant changes to the balance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Melting ice by the coast of Greenland.
Credit: © kavring / Fotolia

The widespread reduction in Arctic sea ice is causing significant changes to the balance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This is shown in a new study conducted by researchers from Lund University in Sweden, among others.

According to the study, the melting of sea ice in the Arctic has a tangible impact on the balance of greenhouse gases in this region, both in terms of uptake and release. The researchers have studied the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane both in the tundra and in the Arctic Ocean.

"Changes in the balance of greenhouse gases can have major consequences because, globally, plants and the oceans absorb around half of the carbon dioxide that humans release into the air through the use of fossil fuels. If the Arctic component of this buffer changes, so will the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," says Dr Frans-Jan Parmentier, a researcher at Lund University, Sweden.

He has carried out the research study together with a number of colleagues both from Lund University and from Denmark, Greenland, Canada and the USA. The researchers observed that a vicious circle is formed when the sea ice melts. Normally, the white ice reflects sunlight, which then bounces out into space, but when the sea-ice cover shrinks, the amount of sunlight reflected is also reduced. Instead, a larger proportion is absorbed by the surface of the ocean, which causes warming that contributes to the rise in air temperatures around the Arctic.

On the one hand, the rising temperatures make vegetation grow more vigorously and therefore more carbon dioxide is taken up, which is a positive effect. On the other hand, the same temperature rise means that more carbon dioxide and methane are released from the soil, which has a strong negative impact on the climate, according to Dr Frans-Jan Parmentier.

In addition to the changes on land, the present study shows that there are a number of uncertainties surrounding the effects of the melting ice on the amount of greenhouse gases exchanged by the ocean through natural processes. Many of these marine processes are poorly understood in this context.

"We know very little about how the shrinking sea ice cover disturbs the balance of greenhouse gases in the sea in the long term," says Dr Parmentier.

The article has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lund University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Frans-Jan W. Parmentier, Torben R. Christensen, Lise Lotte Sψrensen, Sψren Rysgaard, A. David McGuire, Paul A. Miller, Donald A. Walker. The impact of lower sea-ice extent on Arctic greenhouse-gas exchange. Nature Climate Change, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1784

Cite This Page:

Lund University. "Reduced sea ice disturbs balance of greenhouse gases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130218092540.htm>.
Lund University. (2013, February 18). Reduced sea ice disturbs balance of greenhouse gases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130218092540.htm
Lund University. "Reduced sea ice disturbs balance of greenhouse gases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130218092540.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) — As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) — New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) — A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 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:
from the past week

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