Climate Change

Arctic Sea ice saw largest decline in 41 years in July 2019: NCPOR

Loss of ice cover in the Arctic Sea has had strong effects on components of climate system, such as reduction of heat and momentum, water vapour  

 
By Mohammad Faiyaz Anwar
Last Updated: Wednesday 17 June 2020

The National Centre of Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) found the largest decline in the Arctic Sea ice in the last 41 years due to global warming — leading to localised increase in evaporation, air humidity, cloud cover and rainfall.

Arctic Sea ice is a sensitive indicator of climate change and has strong retaliatory effects on other components of the climate system.

The NCPOR noted that this decline in Arctic Sea ice happened in July 2019. In the last 40 years (1979-2018), the sea ice has been declining at -4.7 per cent per decade, while its rate was found to be -13 per cent in July 2019.

If this trend continues, there would be no ice left in the Arctic Sea by 2050, it noted.

With the help of satellite data collected from 1979 to 2019, NCPOR tried to understand the rate of surface warming and the changes in global atmospheric circulation. The study also pointed out that the decrease of the Arctic Sea ice area and the increase in the duration of summer and autumn seasons affected the local weather and climate over the Arctic Ocean and its marginal seas.

Being a sensitive indicator of climate change, the loss of ice cover in the Arctic Sea has had strong feedback effects on other components of the climate system such as prevention or reduction of heat and momentum, water vapour, and other material exchange between the atmosphere and the sea.

The worrying element to note is that the volume of ice formation during winters is unable to keep pace with the volume of ice loss during summers.

“The study revealed that global ocean-atmospheric warming has enhanced the Arctic Sea ice loss. It demonstrated the application of satellite observations and model reanalysis data for the determination and validation; the 2019 sea-ice extent tied to the second-lowest sea-ice minimum record,” said Avinash Kumar, a senior scientist at NCPOR.

He added that while there were no extreme weather events recorded in 2020 so far, an accelerated decline in sea-ice extent and sea-ice volume in summer 2019 was dominant. The northern hemisphere experienced record high-temperature rise, especially during the spring and summer months.

“The sea-ice loss at this rate, concerning to all the lives on Earth, can have a catastrophic impact due to rising global air temperature and slowing down of global ocean water circulation,” he added.

The research team, led by Kumar, comprised Juhi Yadav and Rahul Mohan of NCPOR, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Goa. The research paper was published in the Journal of Natural Hazards. (India Science Wire)

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