The Arctic is warming nearly 4 times faster than the rest of the world

Nuuk, Greenland Image courtesy of Hada Ajosenpaa/Finnish Meteorological Institute

Table of annual average temperature changes in the Arctic (dark) and global (light) Image from: Mika Rantanen

Average temperature trend for 1979-2021 (left) and annual average temperature trend compared to global average (right) Image: Mika Rantanen

Scientists have found that the Arctic is warming faster than previously thought compared to the global average. Accelerated polar warming suggests that the region is more sensitive to global warming than current assessments. The study was published August 11 in Communications – Earth and the Environment.

Past studies have argued that the rate of polar warming is, on average, 2-3 times that of the rest of the world, a phenomenon known as the Arctic amplification effect.

Mika Rantanen and colleagues at the Finnish Meteorological Institute analyzed observations from the Arctic Circle between 1979 and 2021 and estimated that much of the Arctic Ocean warmed at a rate of 0.75°C per decade during that period, at least four times the global average.

In the Eurasian part of the Arctic Ocean, near Svalbard and Novaya Zemlya, the rate of warming is as high as 1.25°C per decade, seven times higher than the rest of the world.

Rantanen and collaborators argue that the Arctic amplification effect will intensify over time as sea ice loss increases.

They argue that climate model projections may have generally underestimated the Arctic amplification effect between 1979 and 2021, calling for a more detailed study of the mechanisms of the Arctic amplification effect and how they behave in climate models. (Source: China Science Daily Jinnan)

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