A joint study between the University of Santa Barbara, the University of Washington and a group of federal scientists showed how great amounts of the ice that has disappeared from the Arctic pole in recent years are a consequence of natural weather variations, and not just humankind influence.

Now, many scientists are considering that a mix of reasons could explain the accelerated loss of ice fragments in the poles. The investigation found that the recent loss of ice pieces during summer periods are not because of human influence and global warming itself only since it was proved that there is a natural atmosphere variability in the Arctic Ocean zones. The study was published Monday in the Nature Climate Change journal.

The Arctic sea ice might have melted as consequence of climate change. Photo credit: Carbonbrief.org

The study does not say humans are guilty-free

According to Qinghua Ding, a climate scientist at the University of California Santa Barbara and lead author of the study, human influence is still one of the dominating reasons to explain ice loss in recent years. However, what the study proves is that natural variability has helped on the acceleration of that melting process, especially in the last two decades.

The study is based on a body of exhaustive investigations made by Ding himself and other colleagues from the University of Washington. This gathered data shows how over the last years there has been a “hot spot” over the Greenland surface that has warmed the region considerably.

Arctic Sea Ice ice. Image credit: The Huffington Post.

Scientists have explained that this hot spot is basically a region with higher pressure than usual where the air is squeezed in and becomes warmer. This fact produces a release of the heat downward, melting ice structures that could be located below. The published study primarily focuses on how the Arctic pole is affected by these hot spots and what does that means to the future of the zone.

“The idea that natural or internal variability has contributed substantially to the Arctic sea ice loss is not entirely new,” said co-author Axel Schweiger, a University of Washington polar scientist who tracks Arctic sea ice. “This study provides the mechanism and uses a new approach to illuminate the processes that are responsible for these changes.”

Ding wrote in an e-mail to Reuters that humankind is still responsible for many dangers the Arctic pole has suffered in the last years, and he added that if greenhouse gasses rates keep rising as they are, it could mean a much more serious factor to the melting of the ice pieces than the natural variability itself.

According to Ed Hawkins, a professor at the University of Reading, given the known information about global warming and its aggregates, the discussion is not if it will happen or not (the disappearance of ice formations in the poles at summer) but more a matter of when.

The constant melting of ice fragments in the Arctic pole are affecting entire livelihoods of indigenous people, as well as harming the wildlife present in those areas. However, this new study provides key information about when the ice could totally disappear in the future and what can humans do to overcome that atrocious fact.

Source: Eurekalert