The Arctic Ocean has been warming since the beginning of the 20th century, decades sooner than new research suggests.
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, concluded that the expansion in the warming water of the Atlantic Ocean, which is streaming toward the Arctic – a phenomenon known as “Atlantification,”- has resulted in the water temperature in the area under study rising by about 2 degrees Celsius since 1900.
The investigators have used the ocean sediments in the Fram Straits, where the Atlantic meets the Arctic east of Greenland, to reconstruct 800 years of data which paint a wider historical picture of how Atlantic water infused the Arctic.
Francesco Muschitiello, an author of the study and assistant professor of geography at Cambridge University, said the findings are worrying because it suggests that Arctic warming may have triggered a glitch in models used by scientists to predict how the climate will change.
‘The loss of sea ice and ocean currents has shifted the buffer zone between the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans closer to a branch of the central Atlantic,’ said overland, who was not involved in the study.