Natural Environmental Swings Cause Up To Half Of Arctic Sea Ice Loss

A U.S. Coast Guard crew retrieves a canister dropped by parachute in the Arctic in 2011. Over the past four decades, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and several other universities have studied shifts in atmospheric circulation above the Arctic.

Researchers say 30 percent to 50 percent of the ice loss is due to natural variation in temperature and humidity, while human-caused warming is responsible for the rest.

(Image credit: NASA/Kathryn Hansen)

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