‘Vicious circle’ of climate change is rapidly melting the Arctic at record level

25 Nov 2016

Iceberg. Image: axily/Shutterstock

New research into the effects of climate change on the Arctic has returned some shocking results, which reveal that a “vicious circle” of climate change is melting the ice at an unprecedented scale.

This latest climate change research comes from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) that has found nothing but major warning signs for the decades to come.

According to AFP, there have been temperatures recorded at the polar region that are above and beyond what would be considered normal, in the region of between nine and 12 degrees Celsius warmer.

Particularly worrying for the team from DMI was the recording of an average temperature of zero degrees Celsius, which would put it at 20 degrees higher than it would typically be this time of year.

Understandably, DMI researcher Martin Stendel has described the findings as “very unusual”, while confirming that it is “by far the highest recorded” temperature since they began recording data in 1979.

Speaking to AFP, he added that “not only was the ice not growing as it would normally, there was further melting due to warm air coming in”, originating from western Europe and west Africa.

Human influence is clear

Another major climate-changer that could be playing a part is the famous El Niño current, which created a record warming effect on the atmosphere earlier this year.

However, the influence of human-made climate change is still the predominant factor in why such drastic temperature rises have occurred, particularly from a resulting “vicious circle”.

This vicious circle is the result of there being less ice and more ocean water, as while 80pc of the sun’s radiation is reflected back into space when it hits ice, the complete opposite happens when it hits the ocean.

This loss of ice cover then leads to more of the sun’s radiation being absorbed, resulting in warmer waters and temperatures in the Arctic.

“If you look at the extent of sea ice, then you can see the vicious circle right away, because there’s a clear downward trend,” Stendel said.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic