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    Global climate change

    Decrease in summer cloudiness has increased the rate of melting on Greenland

    By Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
    7/26/2017, 9:26:05 AM

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    A consistent decrease in summer cloud cover over the last 20 years has caused a significant increase in ice melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet over the past 20 years, according to a new UK-led study posted in the journal Science Advances.

    Image courtesy of NOAA.

    The decrease in cloud cover has resulted in an increase in solar radiation reaching the ice surface, which has caused an acceleration of the melt rate.

    The research team, based out of the University of Bristol, used data from satellites and high resolution climate models to help reach their conclusion.

    The researchers determined that Greenland has lost around 4,000 gigatons of ice since 1995, which is now the biggest single contributor to global sea level rise.

    Previously, it was assumed that the primary cause for the melting was by higher temperatures and resulting feedbacks.

    Scientists determined that changes in large-scale circulation patterns may be leading to the decrease in cloudiness across the region.

    Key excerpts from the University of Bristol/Cabot Institute report......

    "These changes in large-scale circulation patterns during summer are especially pronounced over the Arctic and the North Atlantic," said co-author Professor Jonathan Bamber, who is based at the University of Bristol.

    "The state shift in atmospheric circulation is unprecedented in the observational record, which goes back as far as 1850.

    "This highly unusual state of the atmosphere has been linked to record low sea ice cover during summer over the Arctic Ocean. This highlights the coupled nature of the climate system and the consequences of changes in one component on another," said Bamber.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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    Global climate change