The Arctic has warmed nearly four times faster than the rest of the planet over the last 40 years, according to research published on Aug 11 that suggests climate models are underestimating the rate of polar heating.
The United Nations’ climate science panel said in a special report in 2019 that the Arctic was warming “by more than double the global average” due to a process known as Arctic amplification.
This occurs when sea ice and snow, which naturally reflect the Sun’s heat, melt into sea water, which absorbs it instead.
While there is a long-held consensus among scientists that the Arctic is warming quickly, estimates vary according to the timeframe studied and the definition of what constitutes the geographic area of the Arctic.
A team of researchers based in Norway and Finland analysed four sets of temperature data gathered by satellite studies since 1979 — the year when satellite data became available — over the entire Arctic circle.