Climate

Northern High-Latitude Warming

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Science  05 Dec 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5651, pp. 1627
DOI: 10.1126/science.302.5651.1627a

The high latitudes are particularly sensitive to climate change and are thus good regions in which to look for early signs of global warming. Comiso presents measurements of surface temperature for the whole Arctic from 1981 to 2001, made using satellite thermal infrared data. Large warming anomalies were seen over sea ice, Eurasia, and North America, but no change or a slight cooling was observed over Greenland. Temperature increases were steeper during the 1990s than during the 1980s. This warming increased the melt season by 10 to 17 days per decade and was eight times more rapid than the average for the previous 100 years. The substantial increase in the rate of warming in the Arctic may be associated with the recent change in the phase of the Arctic Oscillation or the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. — HJS

J. Clim. 16, 3498 (2003).

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