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Study: Arctic getting darker, making Earth warmer

Blue icebergs in arctic ocean near Ilulissat

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Arctic isn't nearly as bright and white as it used to be because of more ice melting in the ocean, and that's turning out to be a global problem, a new study says.

With more dark, open water in the summer, less of the sun's heat is reflected back into space. So the entire Earth is absorbing more heat than expected, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

That extra absorbed energy is so big that it measures about one-quarter of the entire heat-trapping effect of carbon dioxide, said the study's lead author, Ian Eisenman, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California.

The Arctic grew 8 percent darker between 1979 and 2011, Eisenman found, measuring how much sunlight is reflected back into space.

"Basically, it means more warming," Eisenman said in an interview.

The North Pole region is an ocean that mostly is crusted at the top with ice that shrinks in the summer and grows back in the fall. At its peak melt in September, the ice has shrunk on average by nearly 35,000 square miles - about the size of Maine - per year since 1979.

Snow-covered ice reflects several times more heat than dark, open ocean, which replaces the ice when it melts, Eisenman said.

As more summer sunlight dumps into the ocean, the water gets warmer, and it takes longer for ice to form again in the fall, Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland said in an email. He was not part of the study.

While earlier studies used computer models, Eisenman said his is the first to use satellite measurements to gauge sunlight reflection and to take into account cloud cover. The results show the darkening is as much as two to three times bigger than previous estimates, he said.

Box and University of Colorado ice scientist Waleed Abdalati, who was not part of the research, called the work important in understanding how much heat is getting trapped on Earth.

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smfstiffy February 19 2014 at 12:45 AM

Blue means DENSER less AIR
Where do these people come from?

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smfstiffy February 19 2014 at 12:42 AM

I have AZ ocean front property for sale.
also just on the science part heat is used in the atmophere to make MOISTURE.
That moisture DEPOSITS itself in the form of rain.
I live in CA and we need rain...SOOO GO warming!
Stop with the TAX us out of the GLOBAL warming crap already.
Carbon is what you exhale and plants breathe if you want to fix something
FIX meltdown of the reactors in Japan. IT is the biggest threat to the global food supply that ever existed, WHY not write a REAL story that actually has science in it?

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Scoot February 19 2014 at 12:12 AM

BS !

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j.kasza February 18 2014 at 11:56 PM

Ok people- this -is your monthly huffpost chicken little report.The sky is falling- humans are bad-whites are racists- christians are evil--it's the SUV driving repubs fault for Katrina! Yosemite Valley used to have a MILE high sheet of ice over it--what melted it Mr. Gore? My 100 watt light bulbs? Maybe worry about this country going down the toilet in the last 6 years!!

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bgr200 February 18 2014 at 11:37 PM

Change is scary for some folks especially when they don't understand it .........or refuse to.

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wittsend7 February 18 2014 at 11:35 PM

Global Warming as described by the cause of man is a lie being perpetrated by many nations led by the USA & they have no care about you! U.S. America's government is an abomination.

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dhartson February 18 2014 at 11:13 PM

Here we go......................................................more propaganda !!!

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1 reply to dhartson's comment
futbook February 18 2014 at 11:26 PM

Yes. Science is propaganda.

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dcarpcstarb February 18 2014 at 9:30 PM

The sea level rise is not a tide thing. It is the result of Ice melting and adding to the seas gradually. Not all at once. The tides are the result of gravity between the earth the moon and the sun and the Coriolis effect. I would assume that most people know by now that Katrinas devastation was worsened because New Orleans is below sea level and without barriers would be flooded anyway. Amsterdam and Venice are feeling the effects. There are Islands out in the ocean that are almost completely underwater with people living on them. See Kiribati.
Climate change is a reality not a hypothesis. There has been no refutable evidence to the contrary In over 50 years. Just opinions and things taken out of context. And ridiculing's of renowned scientific scholars by people who are either too lazy to study for themselves or they are in denial because they don't trust anything scientific. Usually this is a psychological behavior developed out of insecurities due to an inferiority complex towards learned people. Some people crave to feel the respect and notoriety of being a great scientific mind but are too lazy to earn it for themselves so they trifle with an article here a scientific paper their picking and choosing words and phrases that are sure to convince and keep convinced those of a more leisurely nature towards the hard work of study and experiment that is the scientific method. Science is not a God it is just a higher level of understanding ones self and environment. Science is neither meant to offend or deny any religion nor does it attack said institution. Science is not out to get business nor is it a tool for the liberal elite it just is what it is that it is until someone comes a long and proves it other wise. So if you want what you say to be science prove it. Erase all your assumptions, take a look at something make a guess as to how it works or why it is create an experiment do it just and true and find out if what you think is true. I promise you wont be sorry.

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rswedzinsk February 18 2014 at 9:02 PM

What a bunch of dorks! Arctic is darker and therefore ... blah, blah, blah.
These pushers of this global warming farce to line their pockets with their carbon tax credits need to do us all a favor and get some valid science from folks who really know the truth.

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1 reply to rswedzinsk's comment
Kathleen February 18 2014 at 9:05 PM

Uh, who are the folks who really know the truth?

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futbook February 18 2014 at 11:20 PM

Why, Fox "News," of course.

LOL

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geronimospgs February 18 2014 at 8:31 PM

Sell your beachfront property to Republicans as fast as you can.

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