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New research shows that the Arctic Ocean was warming much earlier than previously thought.
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New research shows that the Arctic Ocean was warming much earlier than previously thought.


The studyThe study, published Wednesday in Science Advances, showed that Arctic water temperatures have increased due to the expansion of warm Atlantic Ocean waters flowing into the Arctic. This phenomenon is known as “Atlantification”. To Since 1900, the temperature has risen by approximately 2 degrees Celsius

Francesco Muschitiello is an author of the study and an assistant professor of geography at Cambridge. He said that the findings were troubling because of the early warming suggesting there may be a flaw with the models scientists use for predicting how climate will change.

Muschitiello said that the Arctic Ocean had been warming up longer than we thought. “And this is something that’s quite unsettling for many reasons. Especially because the climate models we use to project future climate change don’t really simulate these types of changes.

The Fram Straight is where the Atlantic meets the Arctic east off Greenland. The researchers used marine sediments to reconstruct 800 years’ worth of data. This gives a longer historical picture about how Atlantic water has flowed to the Arctic. Researchers described marine sediments as “natural archives” that provide data on past climate conditions.

Researchers discovered that temperature and salinity (the saltiness of ocean water) remained relatively constant up to the 20th century, when they suddenly increased.

CNN’s Rong Zhang, a senior scientist at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, said that the reconstructions suggested a significant increase in the Atlantic Ocean heat, and salt transport into Scandinavia at the beginning of 20th century. Rong Zhang was not involved in the study. It is important to understand the causes of rapid Atlantification and the discrepancies between reconstructions and model simulations.

Muschitiello stated it was not clear what role, if any human-caused, climate change played in the Arctic’s early warming. Further research is required.

He said, “We’re talking approximately the early 1900s, but by then we’ve already been overcharging the atmosphere in carbon dioxide.” “It is possible the Arctic Ocean may be more sensitive to greenhouse gasses than previously thought. This will require additional research because we don’t have a good grasp on the mechanisms behind early Atlantification.

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The study shows that there have been changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) — a system of currents that moderates temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere — could have played a role in the Arctic warming. Researchers have found that the AMOC suffered a significant decline after cooling in the North Atlantic region in the mid-1800s. This could have contributed to rapid Atlantification of the east Fram Strait.
A recent studyThe AMOC, commonly described as a “conveyor system” that transports warm water from tropics and redistributes that water northward, is showing signs of further instability. This could be due to human-caused global climate change. Scientists have warned that a collapse of the circulation could lead to an abrupt shift in weather patterns across the globe — colder winters in Europe, changes to monsoons and potentially permanent drought in West Africa.

The Arctic’s rapidly warming temperatures have caused sea-ice to melt. This in turn leads to more warming. While bright white seaice reflects the sun’s energy and dark ocean absorbs it as heat,

James E. Overland (NOAA Arctic scientist) said that such long-term changes and the recent loss of Arctic sea ice threaten marine ecosystems.

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“Loss sea ice, ocean currents has shifted buffer region between Atlantic Ocean and Arctic Ocean to something closer towards an arm of central Atlantic,” Overland said to CNN. He was not involved in the study. “Important fisheries are at risk from ecosystem reorganization due to Atlantification.”

A recent UN state-of-the-science report According to climate crisis, the Arctic will continue warming faster than other parts of the globe as long humans continue to use fossil fuels to produce greenhouse gases. Muschitiello also stated that the Arctic Ocean could experience more warming from Atlantification.

Muschitiello stated, “When I speak to my students, I always try to make sure they know that the Arctic is heating very quickly and much faster than any other region on the planet.” “It’s very troubling and alarming, especially since we don’t fully understand the feedbacks.”

He stated that “We are still slowly getting to understand how the entire system works.” “And I fear that by the time we solve the problem, it will be too late.”


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