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Greenland’s out-of-sync climate explained

As Northern Hemisphere warmed, island cooled — but warming catch-up is under way

By
7:00am, July 8, 2015
greenland

OUT OF SYNC  Slight changes in the sun’s activity can cause big changes in Greenland’s temperature decades later by changing ocean currents, new research suggests. A dip in the sun’s brightness in the 1950s may have cooled Greenland in the 1980s and 1990s.

Scientists think they’ve figured out why Greenland’s climate is out of sync with the rest of the Northern Hemisphere — but they had to go way back in time to find the proposed culprit.

From the 1970s through the early 1990s, Greenland kept its cool even as the Northern Hemisphere warmed. Reconstructing and examining 2,100 years of Greenland temperatures using ice-trapped air bubbles, researchers propose that periodic fluctuations in the sun’s activity can desynchronize Greenland’s climate and cause changes decades later. The study, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that, based on current solar activity, Greenland could warm significantly faster over the coming decades than previously thought.

Whenever the seesawing solar activity peaks, as it did in the 1950s, the North Atlantic sea surface warms. The researchers postulate

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