New study confirms Arctic Ocean has been warming decades longer than scientists thought

Published in Science Advances, scientists determined that "Atlantification," which is "the recent expansion of Atlantic waters in the Arctic Ocean," was taking place several decades before the recording.

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A new study revealed that the Arctic Ocean has been warming since the start of the 1900s, which is decades earlier than scientists had previously thought. The new research raises new concerns for the loss of the seasonal ice and the survival of the Arctic Ocean’s ecosystem.

Published in Science Advances, scientists determined that “Atlantification,” which is “the recent expansion of Atlantic waters in the Arctic Ocean,” was taking place several decades before the recording.

“We reconstruct the history of Atlantification along the eastern Fram Strait during the past 800 years using precisely dated paleoceanographic records,” the study’s authors said referring to the maritime passage between Greenland and Svalbard. “Our results show rapid changes in water mass properties that commenced in the early 20th century—several decades before the documented Atlantification by instrumental records.”

Scientists now believe the “the Arctic Ocean has been warming up for much longer than we previously thought. And this is something that’s a bit unsettling for many reasons, especially because the climate models that we use to cast projections of future climate change do not really simulate these type of changes,” Francesco Muschitiello, one of the study’s authors and a geographer at Cambridge University, said.

The authors of the study said it is possible that the “Arctic Ocean is more sensitive to greenhouse gases than previously thought,” which will require more research to understand.

“We’re talking about the early 1900s, and by then we’ve already been supercharging the atmosphere with carbon dioxide,” Muschitiello said. “It is possible that the Arctic Ocean is more sensitive to greenhouse gases than previously thought. This will require more research, of course, because we don’t have a solid grip on the actual mechanisms behind this early Atlantification.”

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