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Posted Fri Feb 20 2009: from London Guardian:
Melt-pools 'accelerating Arctic ice loss' http://apocadocs.com/s.pl?1235092937
New research has revealed that melt-water pooling on the Arctic sea ice is causing it to melt at a faster rate than computer models had previously predicted. Scientists have been struggling to understand why the northern sea ice has been retreating at a faster rate than estimated by the most recent assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in 2007. The IPCC's computer models had simulated an average loss of 2.5 percent in sea ice extent per decade from 1953 to 2006. But in reality the Arctic sea ice had declined at a rate of about 7.8 percent per decade. Arctic sea ice has retreated so much that in September 2007 it covered an all-time low area of 4.14m km sq, surpassing by 23 percent the previous all-time record set in September 2005. And during the summer of 2008, the north-west and north-east passages - the sea routes running along the Arctic coastlines of northern America and northern Russia, normally perilously clogged with thick ice were ice-free for the first time since records began in 1972. Part of the reasons for the discrepancy has to do with melt ponds, which are pools of melted ice and snow that form on the sea ice when it is warmed in spring and summer. As they are darker than ice and snow, they absorb solar radiation rather than reflect it, which accelerates the melting process.
[Read more stories about: albedo effect, arctic meltdown, faster than expected, feedback loop]
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