Arctic ice is melted by 'atmospheric rivers'



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Arctic ice is melted by 'atmospheric rivers'

As reported by the meteoweb.eu the Arctic ice would be melted by atmospheric rivers. The study More frequent atmospheric rivers slow the seasonal recovery of Arctic sea ice, published in Nature said that accelerating the melting of sea ice in the Arctic could therefore be the atmospheric rivers, intense air currents heavily loaded with humidity and rain whose existence was only discovered a few years ago.

Based on observations and climate model simulations, a strong frequency increase in early winter ARs has been observed over the Kara Sea in the period 1979 to 2021. A number of empirical experiments in these areas suggest that , in addition to a uniform AR increase in response to anthropogenic warming, there has been a change in the thickness of the Arctic ice.

This is indicated by a study conducted by Pengfei Zhang, of the American University of the State of Pennsylvania, according to which these rivers made of humid air are responsible for a third of the melting of the ice. Most of the Arctic moisture imports are driven by atmospheric rivers, which are long, narrow transient corridors that carry intense horizontal flows of moisture, typically accompanied by a low-level outburst following tropical cyclone ARs, and account for up to 90% of water vapor transported poleward, playing a crucial role in the hydrological cycle.

In the polar regions, in contrast to AR-induced snow accumulation. In East Antarctica, the intense moisture and heat that is rapidly transported by AR can exert a strong melting effect on the cryosphere, exemplified by ice sheet melting in Greenland and West Antarctica.

Arctic ice is melted by atmospheric rivers

The melting of the Arctic ice is one of the phenomena that makes the current climate crisis more visible, just think that in the summer it has become possible to navigate almost freely near the North Pole.

The increase in temperatures is obviously responsible for the melting of the ice, but according to many researchers, the increase in temperatures alone is unable to explain the rapid decline of the pack ice, the ice on the sea.

Analyzing satellite data and climate simulations, the researchers have also identified in the Arctic the cyclical and increasingly frequent formation of the so-called atmospheric rivers, meteorological structures identified only about ten years ago in tropical regions, formed by long columns of particularly rich in vapour, a few hundred kilometers wide, capable of advancing rapidly in the atmosphere and discharging large quantities of rain on the ground.