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Picture of the Day

Study links natural climate oscillations in North Atlantic to Greenland Ice Sheet melt

A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution shows that the rate of melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet might be temporarily increased or decreased by two existing climate patterns: the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Both patterns can have a major impact on regional climate. The NAO, which is measured as the atmospheric pressure difference between the Azores and Iceland, can affect the position and strength of the westerly storm track. The study found that when the NAO stays in its negative phase (meaning that air pressure is high over Greenland) it can trigger extreme ice melt in Greenland during the summer season. Likewise, the AMO, which alters sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic, can cause major melting events when it is in its warm phase, raising the temperature of the region as a whole. Shown here: Scientists stand on the edge of a crevasse formed by meltwater flowing across the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Visit Website | Image credit: Sarah Das/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution