Research shows that rain will replace snow as the Arctic’s most common precipitation, as climate change heats up the planet’s northern ice caps.
Today, there is more snow in the Arctic than there is rain. However, this will change if the world gets warmer by 3C. The Cop26 summit pledged that the temperature would not rise by 2.4C, but this is only if the promises are kept.
Even if global temperatures rise is limited to 1.5C or 2C the Greenland, Norwegian Sea areas will still be rain-dominated. Scientists were stunned when August saw rain fall on the Greenlands massive ice cap for only the second time in recorded history.
The most recent climate models were used to conduct the research. It was shown that the transition from snow and rain will occur much faster than previously predicted. Autumn showed the most dramatic seasonal changes. It found that the central Arctic will be dominated by rain in autumn by 2060/2070, if carbon emissions are not reduced, as opposed to 2090, as earlier models predicted.
Researchers said that a switchover would have profound implications. It could lead to global warming and sea level rise, melting permafrost, sinking roads and mass starvation in the region. Scientists suspect that rapid Arctic heating is also increasing extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and floods in Europe and Asia by altering the jet stream.
Michelle McCrystall from the University of Manitoba in Canada led the research. Although it might seem far from your daily life, the Arctic has seen temperatures rise so much that [it]It will also have an impact on the south.
The central Arctic, where one would think there should be snowfall throughout the autumn, is actually experiencing a earlier transition to rain. This will have enormous implications. Because it reflects a lot sunlight, the Arctic has a very strong snowfall. This is important for everything in the region and for the global climate.
Prof James Screen from the University of Exeter in the UK was part of the research team.
Scientists agree that the Arctic will see an increase in precipitation as more water evaporates from warmer and less ice-free waters. However, research has shown that the research is not conclusive. Published in Nature CommunicationsAccording to research, this would be heavily dominated in rainy seasons, which will more than triple in autumn by 2100, if emissions are not reduced.
According to scientists, the transition to a rain-dominated Arctic will occur in the summer and fall decades earlier than anticipated and at a lower level global warming (potentially below 1.5C) with profound climatic and ecosystem impacts.
Snow is essential in making sea ice each winter. Therefore, less snow means more heat absorbed from open oceans. Research shows that rain is increasing along the southern coast of Greenland. This could accelerate the melting of glaciers into oceans and the subsequent rise in sea level that threatens many coastal areas.
Most of the Arctic land is tundra. This is because the soil has been permanently froze. However, more rain would change this. McCrystall stated that warming the ground could cause permafrost to melt. This will have global consequences because permafrost, as we know, is a great sink of carbon and methane.
The region will experience melting of vital ice roads and more floods. There will also be starvation for livestock herds. Rain that falls on snow and then freezes can stop animals from eating. She explained that reindeer and caribou can’t get through the layer and can’t access the grass they need to survive.
Prof Richard Allan of the University of Reading, UK, was not involved in this research. He said: This new study, which uses a state of-the-art set of complex simulations, paints a worrying picture of Arctic future climate change. It is faster and more substantial than previously thought. This research is alarming for both the Arctic region and beyond.
Gavin Schmidt, of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies (USA) said that the claim of faster change was not supported by some climate models that predict warmer future temperatures.