New climate modeling has shown that the transition could be happening earlier than scientists expected. Michelle McCrystall, lead author of the study, and climate researcher at University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, said that earlier modeling had suggested that it would not occur between 2090-20100.
“But with the new model set, this has been pushed forward to approximately between 2060-2070, so there’s quite an increase there by 20 years with this transition,” she stated.
McCrystall stated that “if we kept within this 1.5-degree world the Arctic could still remain snow-dominant by end of century, but some parts likely still will transition” and some parts are already transitioning. “But we remain on the path of a 3-degree world.”
Although scientists not involved in the study agreed that the Arctic is experiencing rapid change due to the climate crisis, others expressed concern about the study’s findings and pointed out the need for more research and observations.
Tim Palmer, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford, stated that future Arctic precipitation trends require “more careful quantification.”
Palmer stated that all this shows the need for high quality observations of precipitation in regions such as the Arctic, and the development a new class climate model with higher resolution and smaller biases. These models will also be more realistically estimate natural variability on a regional scale. “These will give us greater confidence in the effect of carbon emissions in relation to precipitation in places such as the Arctic. These are essential if we want to have an impact on mitigation policy.
Bob Spicer, a professor emeritus of the Open University, spent years studying Arctic climates during past episodes of global warming.
7 billion tons water
The study reveals that rainfall has increased due to the loss in sea ice. Warmer temperatures and more open water mean more evaporation which creates a wetter Arctic.
According to the study, a rain-dominated Arctic could destabilize Greenland’s ice sheet mass balance and trigger a global rise of sea levels.
“While it’s likely that Arctic rainfall will rise as the climate heats, rains also are likely to become more intense,” Mark Serreze (co-author of the study, director of NSIDC), told CNN. “It’s a terrible one-two punch to an ecosystem already reeling from rapid environmental changes.”
While the projections aren’t definitive, McCrystall said more rain events in Greenland — and the Arctic region as a whole — are expected to occur the more Humans continue to add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
“With the oceans becoming warmer and [the Greenland]”Despite the fact that there has been a rainfall event, there are signs that things could be more extreme or are changing more quickly than what our models project,” she said.
McCrystall stated that “the fact that everything’s shifting to show that precipitation is increasing is an indicator of human-induced climate changes for certain.”