Climate Change

The long reach of Arctic sea ice loss

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Science  11 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6351, pp. 561-562
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6351.561-d

Arctic sea ice quantifiably affects global climate.

PHOTO: VICKI BEAVER/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

How might the loss of Arctic sea ice be affecting climate outside that region? Climate change is driven by a number of interacting processes, including sea ice loss and increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, and separating their effects is not a trivial exercise. McCusker et al. used a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model to unravel the impacts of sea ice loss and atmospheric carbon dioxide increases on temperature and circulation; they found that these impacts can be distinguished quite precisely, on hemispheric to regional scales. The ability to separate these effects might help us better interpret the diverse and sometimes apparently conflicting array of modeling and observational studies of Arctic climate change and its influence.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2017GL074327 (2017).

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