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Glacier Calving Icebergs Into Fjord in Norway (Image 1)

A glacier calving icebergs into a fjord in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, Norway

A glacier calving icebergs into a fjord in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, Norway. Sixty percent of Svalbard is covered in ice but as glaciers retreat, more of Svalbard's rocks are becoming exposed.

Research by William D'Andrea, a climate scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), has found that the summers there are warmer now than at any other time in the last 1,800 years, including during medieval times, when parts of the Northern Hemisphere were as hot as--or hotter--than today. D'Andrea's research shows that recent summer temperatures are greater than even the warmest periods during medieval times.

The research suggests that increased winter precipitation--rather than cold temperatures--was responsible for little ice age glaciations on Svalbard during the 18th and 19th centuries and that increased heat transport into the Arctic via the West Spitsbergen Current began ca. A.D. 1600. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Keck Geology consortium.

To learn more, see the LDEO news story High-arctic Heat Tops 1,800-Year-High, Says Study. (Date of Image: September 2012) [Image 1 of 2 related images. See Image 2.]

Credit: William D'Andrea, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
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