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Global Warming Began Way Earlier Than Previously Thought, Finds Study

Researchers believe that the gradual melting of the snow will exhume worse consequences than expected. (Shutterstock)

Researchers believe that the gradual melting of the snow will exhume worse consequences than expected. (Shutterstock)

Researchers used the chemical signatures found in marine microorganisms and based the study on them.

A group of researchers at the University of Cambridge have found evidence that the warming of the Arctic Ocean began much before the current calculations offered by modern instrumental measurements. It is observed that the rise in global temperature had been initiated way back at the beginning of the last century. ‘Atlantification,’ a process in which the influx of warmer and saltier water in the Arctic Ocean is witnessed, has been prevalent since the beginning of 1900. Researchers used the chemical signatures found in marine microorganisms and based the study on them. The paper acts as a link between the North Atlantic and the climate of the Arctic.

“Based on satellite measurements, we know that the Arctic Ocean has been warming slowly, especially in the past 20 years. The rate of Arctic warming is more than double the global average,” said Dr Francesco Muschitiello, lead author of the study, in a press release.

Researchers believe that the gradual melting of the snow will exhume worse consequences than expected.

Atlantification will lead to the melting of snow due to the introduction of warmer and saltier water. As the ocean surface gets exposed to sunlight, the release of heat into the atmosphere will melt the permafrost, a layer that has capsuled a large amount of methane, a much more damaging greenhouse gas than CO2. “The reason for this rapid Atlantification of the gate of the Arctic Ocean is intriguing,” said Dr Francesco.

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The research was conducted at Fram Strait, a region between Greenland and Svalbard which acts as a gateway to the Arctic Ocean. They used the geochemical and ecological data from the sediments, and reconstructed changes in the water column properties expanded across 800 years.

The study throws light on probable loopholes and flaws existing in the current climate models and provides a path for rectification in our approach to fight off a problem that may unfurl into a full-blown catastrophe.

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first published:November 27, 2021, 16:00 IST