What is Polar Amplification?

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What is Polar Amplification?

Polar amplification is a climate term which means that climate change is happening faster and is more pronounced in the North Pole or the Arctic faster than anywhere else in the world. Polar amplification is caused by a number of things, and it only applies to the North Pole because the South Pole is mostly water. Factors that speed up the change include the land masses that are located in the North Pole, as well as the amount of reflective snow in the region.

Land masses heat up and cool down faster than water. Ice and snow in the Northern Hemisphere reflect back sunlight to outer space, and the rate of reflected light is called albedo (meaning ‘white’ in Latin). When the albedo is lowered, the more solar energy is retained, thus increasing the temperature. When temperature is increased, more ice is melted, and thus slowly lowering the albedo further. This cycle feeds arctic amplification. This also means that the Arctic is shrinking, and sea levels are rising.

Global warming is not uniformly evident in all parts of the world, as evident with polar amplification. But polar amplification has global repercussions, setting off chain reactions such as climate change, longer typhoon seasons, flooding, droughts etc.

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One Response

  1. Monex

    December 19, 2010 11:02 am

    The findings are a stunning about-face from previous expert forecasts that such massive melting would take millennia to kick in even with rising global atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Areas that havent experienced melt in centuries suddenly do said Marshall. A widely quoted report in 2001 from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that major melting was no threat in Greenland and Antarctica in this century.


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