Ice melt will drive heat
New data shows melting ice is likely to exacerbate global warming.
A Swedish study suggests the melting of ice in polar and mountain regions around the world could lead to an additional 0.43°C increase in global warming in the long term.
The loss of ice cover is known to influence air temperatures, but how large the contributions of different ice sheets and feedback mechanisms to global temperature changes might be has been unclear.
The researchers used computer models to estimate the effects, and found losing the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could lead to an increase of 0.05°C, while losing Arctic summer sea ice could lead to an increase of 0.19°C.
The results are based on assuming atmospheric CO2 concentrations similar to today's (400 parts per million).
Furthermore, the authors note that this warming does not emerge over years or decades, but rather on a time-scale of centuries to millennia (although they highlight that the Arctic might become ice-free during the summer within the 21st century). Therefore, these results should be interpreted as idealised estimates of contributions of different ice sources and feedback mechanisms.