Polar researchers stationed in the southwest of the Arctic island of Spitsbergen have found a worrying warming trend in meteorological data spanning 40 years. Temperatures in parts of the island, which is part of the Svalbard archipelago between Norway and the North Pole, have risen six times higher than the global average.
Scientists from the Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences (IGF PAN) made the worrying discovery during expeditions to the Polish Polar Station Hornsund.
The scientists presented their findings in Earth System Science Data.
Professor Marzena Osuch, study co-author and hydrologist, told the Polish Press Agency (PAP): “The average temperature in Hornsund between 1979 and 2018 rose by 1.14C per decade.
“The change is more than six times higher than the global change for the same period.”
READ MORE: Meteor discovery: Antarctic yields shock results for space debris
Global warming: A polar research station has recorded unsually high warming
Global warming: Spitsbergen is the bigges of the Svalbard islands in the Arctic
According to the expert, the global average for this period stood at 0.17C per decade.
Scientists have attributed the drastic differences to melting ice water in the region.
Lead author Dr Tomasz Wawrzyniak from IGF PAN said: “Such rapid temperature changes, compared to the rest of the world, are due, among other reasons, to sea ice disappearing in the Arctic.
“The duration of snow cover is also dropping during the year.
“As a result, albedo changes – more solar radiation is absorbed by oceans and land areas, which changes the oceanic and atmospheric circulation.”
Albedo is the measure of a surface’s reflectiveness.
The change is more than six times higher than the global change
In essence, darker surfaces like water and exposed ground absorb more sunlight than reflective ice or snow.
The same principle applies to surfaces like asphalt heating incredibly quick in the summer.
In the Arctic, the disappearance of ice is also reducing the global albedo average, allowing more sunlight to warm the oceans.
Fireball: Stunned onlookers witness meteor over Europe [VIDEO]
Apocalyptic asteroid could hit US coast like wrecking ball [ANALYSIS]
NASA spots the crumbling Comet ATLAS Y4 [PICTURES]
Global warming: The planet’s polar regions are rapidly melting
Global Warming: As ice melts, the oceans and seas absorb more sunlight and trap heat
According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, warm surface waters can further exacerbate the melting of polar ice.
Another factor contributing the Arctic island warming is the Gulf Stream.
Dr Wawrzyniak said: “If there is less ice, the warm current reaches further up north, into the Arctic and warms it.”
The scientists have also found variations in air temperature are not event distributed throughout the year.
The biggest changes were observed in the winter months – December, January and February.
Global warming has raised the average global temperature since the industrial era, between 1880 and 1900.
In 2019, the average temperatures across land and ocean surfaces were about 0.95C above the 20th-century average.
The global annual temperature has also risen at a rate of 0.07C since 1880 and at least at twice that rate since 1981.
In this period, the five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2015.
Scientists agree global warming and climate change are the result of greenhouse emissions from human activity.
A report by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reads: “By 2020, models project that global surface temperature will be more than 0.5C (0.9F) warmer than the 1986 to 2005 average, regardless of which carbon dioxide emissions pathway the world follows.
“This similarity in temperatures regardless of total emissions is a short-term phenomenon: it reflects the tremendous inertia of Earth’s vast oceans.
“The high heat capacity of water means that ocean temperature doesn’t react instantly to the increased heat being trapped by greenhouse gases.
“By 2030, however, the heating imbalance caused by greenhouse gases begins to overcome the oceans’ thermal inertia, and projected temperature pathways begin to diverge, with unchecked carbon dioxide emissions likely leading to several additional degrees of warming by the end of the century.”