Declining sea ice to lead to cloudier Arctic: study

Mar 31, 2012

Arctic sea ice has been declining over the past several decades as global climate has warmed. In fact, sea ice has declined more quickly than many models predicted, indicating that climate models may not be correctly representing some processes controlling sea ice.

One source of uncertainty in models is feedback from cloud cover. Sea ice can affect cloud cover, as melting sea ice and increased evaporation from the ocean surface can lead to more cloud formation. In the Arctic, clouds have an overall warming effect on the surface, so greater cloudiness in this region could lead to even more sea-ice melt.

Liu et al. analyzed of cloud cover and sea ice from 2000 to 2010 to evaluate feedbacks between sea ice and cloud cover. They find that a 1 percent decrease in sea ice concentration leads to a 0.36-0.47 percent increase in cloud cover, and that 22-34 percent of variance in cloud cover can be explained by changes in sea ice. So as sea ice declines, the researchers predict that the Arctic will become cloudier.

Explore further: Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

More information: A cloudier Arctic expected with diminishing sea ice, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2012GL051251 , 2012
dx.doi.org/10.1029/2012GL051251

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New method to estimate sea ice thickness

Mar 05, 2008

Scientists recently developed a new modeling approach to estimate sea ice thickness. This is the only model based entirely on historical observations.

Predicting Arctic sea ice loss

Jan 17, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Arctic clouds are strongly tied to Arctic sea ice loss. To find the strength of those ties, a team led by scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory tested a prominent climate model ...

Arctic ice gets a check up

Mar 31, 2011

Scientists tracking the annual maximum extent of Arctic sea ice said that 2011 was among the lowest ice extents measured since satellites began collecting the data in 1979. Using satellites to track Arctic ice and comparing ...

NASA Sees Rapid Changes in Arctic Sea Ice

Sep 13, 2006

NASA data shows that Arctic perennial sea ice, which normally survives the summer melt season and remains year-round, shrunk abruptly by 14 percent between 2004 and 2005. According to researchers, the loss of perennial ice ...

Recommended for you

Six Nepalese dead, six missing in Everest avalanche

2 hours ago

At least six Nepalese climbing guides have been killed and six others are missing after an avalanche struck Mount Everest early Friday in one of the deadliest accidents on the world's highest peak, officials ...

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

16 hours ago

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

There's something ancient in the icebox

16 hours ago

Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything—vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock. So scientists were greatly surprised ...

Image: Grand Canyon geology lessons on view

23 hours ago

The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona is a favorite for astronauts shooting photos from the International Space Station, as well as one of the best-known tourist attractions in the world. The steep walls of ...

First radar vision for Copernicus

Apr 17, 2014

Launched on 3 April, ESA's Sentinel-1A satellite has already delivered its first radar images of Earth. They offer a tantalising glimpse of the kind of operational imagery that this new mission will provide ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Six Nepalese dead, six missing in Everest avalanche

At least six Nepalese climbing guides have been killed and six others are missing after an avalanche struck Mount Everest early Friday in one of the deadliest accidents on the world's highest peak, officials ...

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

There's something ancient in the icebox

Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything—vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock. So scientists were greatly surprised ...

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...