Arctic Warming

Snow job

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Science  29 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6469, pp. 1091-1092
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6469.1091-f

What is the cause of the observed reduction of surface albedo in the Arctic since the early 1980s? This surface albedo reduction is thought to be a major reason that the Arctic has warmed at a rate two to three times greater than the global average. Zhang et al. show that reductions of terrestrial snow cover, snow cover fraction over sea ice, and sea ice extent are coequally responsible for the albedo decline and that the decrease in snow cover is primarily due to rising surface air temperatures. Soot deposition has not been an important factor in the albedo change.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1915258116 (2019).

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