Climate change is clearly noticeable in the Arctic – even more than in other regions of the world. This has to do with polar amplification, write researchers in a study.
According to Finnish researchers, global warming as part of the climate crisis has progressed much faster in the Arctic than previously assumed. The Arctic region has warmed almost four times faster than the global average over the past 43 years, according to a new study by scientists at the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Helsinki.
At a regional level, some areas in the Arctic Ocean have even gotten warmer up to seven times faster than the planet as a whole, they write in the journal Communications Earth & Environment. Climate models have so far underestimated the so-called polar amplification, explained lead author Mika Rantanen.
So far, there has been talk of the Arctic warming twice as fast. However, a working group of the Arctic Council based in Tromsø, Norway, had already reported in May 2021 that the increase in the average Arctic surface temperature between 1971 and 2019 was 3.1 degrees Celsius, around three times higher than the global average.
The Finnish researchers now attribute their even higher estimate to the strong and sustained Arctic warming on the one hand, but also to their definition of the Arctic and the calculation period on the other: They defined the Arctic as the entire area that is located within the Arctic Circle. The rate of warming was calculated from 1979 – the year since more detailed and therefore more reliable satellite images became available.
According to the Finnish researchers, the extent of the polar strengthening is influenced both by climate change caused by human activities and by natural long-term climate fluctuations. Both factors are therefore likely to have led to an increase in reinforcement over the 43 years. dpa