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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/3/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

How does more Arctic ice equal given thought about polar ice melt? Mark Serreze answers -

The given notion is that Arctic ice is melting, sending levels of seawater over their usual levels. However - Arctic ice INCREASED to an all-time high in a week. Why is this? Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center says that somehow counter-intuitively that sea ice growth was specifically on account of global warming. 

Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center says that somehow counter-intuitively that sea ice growth was specifically on account of global warming.

Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center says that somehow counter-intuitively that sea ice growth was specifically on account of global warming.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/3/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Mark Serreze, arctic ice, climate change


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The primary reason for this is the nature of the circulation of the Southern Ocean - water heated in high southern latitudes is carried equator-ward, to be replaced by colder waters upwelling from below, which inhibits ice loss," Serreze wrote in an e-mail.

"Upon this natural oceanic thermostat, one will see the effects of natural climate variations, [the rise] appears to be best explained by shifts in atmospheric circulation although a number of other factors are also likely involved."

The second all-time record maximum for Arctic ice was met this week. The new record is 2.112 million square kilometers above normal. Until the weekend just past, the previous record had been 1.840 million square kilometers above normal, a mark hit on December 20, 2007.

What would heat the water at high latitudes, those closest to the South Pole? Serreze, speaking to Harold Ambler, clarified in a telephone interview: 

"What we're talking about is water that is 60 degrees south and more southerly than that, and so the basic thing is you have got surrounding the Antarctic continent a band of fairly strong and somewhat steady west-east winds, which they call the Roaring 40s, but then you've got this thing called the coriolis force, which wants to turn things to the left.

"What happens is that water at the high latitudes, what happens is that as we heat that water, you set up what's called an Ekman drift, which at the surface transports that water from the high southern latitudes toward the equator.

"What happens is you have to set up a continuity that has to occur so that what happens is that there's an upwelling of cold waters from below, there's a whole circulation loop where water sinks in the lower southern latitudes, then there's a return flow that brings the same amount of mass to the higher latitudes," Serreze explained. 

"Basically, what happens is that in the Arctic you can warm that surface water up and it doesn't get transported away. It stays there, and it helps melt more ice, but in the Antarctic, the water gets carried away."

Harold Ambler then asked Serreze if it was simply global warming. "Exactly!" Serreze declared.

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