The Impacts of Arctic Sea Ice Retreat on Contemporary Climate

Session Date: 
May 15, 2015

The El Nino event of 1998 caused a transition from growth in global temperature to nearly zero growth. This “hiatus” in warming occurred even though greenhouse gas emissions accelerated after 1998; it is a major public argument against action on climate change. During the hiatus, the Arctic region warmed, and sea ice, land ice, and snow-cover retreated faster than before. The oceans began to bury the expected warming at depths inaccessible to the atmosphere. The extra warming created by sea ice retreat triggered the change in ocean state. The atmospheric circulation induced by a warmer Arctic and a cooler Pacific created La Nina-like extreme events.

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