Arctic Sea Ice and Its Role in Climate Variability and Change

  • Lawrence A. Mysak
Chapter

Abstract

The presence of the Arctic sea ice cover has a profound influence on the polar climate in the Northern Hemisphere (e.g., see Walsh, 1983; Parkinson et al., 1987). First, the ice cover reflects a large fraction of the incident solar radiation because the ice has a larger albedo than that of open water. Secondly, the ice cover acts as an insulating barrier over the relatively warm ocean and thus reduces ocean-to-atmosphere heat exchanges, especially during winter when the Arctic air is very cold. Without an ice cover, the Arctic surface air temperature would be about 10–15 degrees C warmer than today’s annual average temperature in this region. Such a warm Arctic region is believed to have last occurred during the mid-Cretaceous, 100 Myr ago. Thirdly, the ice cover strongly affects the momentum and mass transfers from the atmosphere to the ocean.

Keywords

Burning Dioxide Microwave Europe Shipping 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence A. Mysak
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Centre for Climate and Global Change ResearchMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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