Recent Trends in Arctic Surface, Cloud, and Radiation Properties from Space

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Science  14 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5613, pp. 1725-1728
DOI: 10.1126/science.1078065

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Trends in satellite-derived cloud and surface properties for 1982 to 1999 show that the Arctic has warmed and become cloudier in spring and summer but has cooled and become less cloudy in winter. The increase in spring cloud amount radiatively balances changes in surface temperature and albedo, but during summer, fall, and winter, cloud forcing has tended toward increased cooling. This implies that, if seasonal cloud amounts were not changing, surface warming would be even greater than that observed. Strong correlations with the Arctic Oscillation indicate that the rise in surface temperature and changes in cloud amount are related to large-scale circulation rather than to local processes.

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