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Study Shows How Reduced Arctic Summer Snowfall Makes Ice Thinner

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With the Arctic region warming quicker than any place on Earth, a new research presented today by Dr. James Screen from the University of Melbourne has evidenced that the rising temperatures and increased rainfall make the sea ice melt more and more.

Dr. Screen explains how, because it reflects about 85 percent of the incoming sunlight back into space, snow acts like a sunscreen, protecting the ice and preventing it from melting.

“As a result of this temperature shift, we estimate that there has been a 40 percent decrease in summer snowfall over the last 20 years.”

“The reductions in snowfall in the summer months (when there is still typically significant snow in Arctic regions) have knock-on effects for the sea ice — the ice floating on top of the Arctic Ocean,” he said.

The study, whose co-author was Professor Ian Simmonds from the University’s School of Earth Sciences, also outlines that summer snowfall has decreased by about 40 percent over the last 20 years.

The two scientists presented their work at the 25th International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics General Assembly in Melbourne.

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