Thursday, May 8, 2014

Greenland melting due equally to global warming, natural variations

Hannah Hickey at the University of Washington: ....University of Washington atmospheric scientists have estimated that up to half of the recent warming in Greenland and surrounding areas may be due to climate variations that originate in the tropical Pacific and are not connected with the overall warming of the planet. Still, at least half the warming remains attributable to global warming caused by rising carbon dioxide emissions. The paper is published May 8 in Nature.

Greenland and parts of neighboring Canada have experienced some of the most extreme warming since 1979, at a rate of about 1 degree Celsius per decade, or several times the global average. “We need to understand why in the last 30 years global warming is not uniform,” said first author Qinghua Ding, a UW research scientist in atmospheric sciences. “Superimposed on this global average warming are some regional features that need to be explained.”

The study used observations and advanced computer models to show that a warmer western tropical Pacific Ocean has caused atmospheric changes over the North Atlantic that have warmed the surface by about a half-degree per decade since 1979.

...“Our work shows that about half of the warming signal in Greenland comes from the predictable part – forcing of climate by anthropogenic greenhouse gases – but about half comes from the unpredictable part,” Steig said....

A NASA image of ice melting in Greenland

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