An international team of scientists has calculated the effect of river temperatures on glacier melting. Only they can melt 20% of the territory of Alaska.
A new study has shown that rising temperatures in Arctic rivers are causing them to have a greater impact on sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and warming. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, was led by the Japan Marine Science and Technology Agency and scientists from the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Finland, and Canada.
Studies have shown that large Arctic rivers bring significantly more heat to the Arctic Ocean than in 1980. River heat accounts for up to 10% of all ice losses in the period from 1980 to 2015 in the shelf region of the Arctic Ocean. This melting is equivalent to about 120,000 square miles of 1-meter thick ice.
“If Alaska was covered with 1-meter ice, then only because of the rivers we would have lost 20% of the territory,” – said Igor Polyakov, co-author, and oceanographer of the International Arctic Research Center and the Finnish Meteorological Institute at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.
The impact is most pronounced in the Arctic, where several large rivers flow into a relatively shallow shelf stretching for almost 1000 km. In the open sea. The Mackenzie River in Canada is a significant contributor to sea ice melt near Alaska, but the state’s smaller rivers are also a source of change.
Scientists expect that rising air temperatures will continue to warm Arctic rivers in the future. As the rivers warm up, more and more heat will flow into the Arctic Ocean, more and more sea ice will melt and the warming of the Arctic will accelerate.