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    Aerosols May Drive a Significant Portion of Arctic Warming

    artist concept of aerosols reflecting light Aerosols can influence climate directly by either reflecting or absorbing the sun's radiation as it moves through the atmosphere. The tiny airborne particles enter the atmosphere from sources such as industrial pollution, volcanoes and residential cooking stoves. Credit: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio
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    Though greenhouse gases are invariably at the center of discussions about global climate change, new NASA research suggests that much of the atmospheric warming observed in the Arctic since 1976 may be due to changes in tiny airborne particles called aerosols.

    Emitted by natural and human sources, aerosols can directly influence climate by reflecting or absorbing the sun's radiation. The small particles also affect climate indirectly by seeding clouds and changing cloud properties, such as reflectivity.

    A new study, led by climate scientist Drew Shindell of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, used a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to investigate how sensitive different regional climates are to changes in levels of carbon dioxide, ozone, and aerosols.

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    Try, Try Again: Scientists Prepare for Return to Pine Island Glacier

    Photo of American flag over camp at Pine Island Glacier Dr. Bindschadler gives an update on the wait to get "boots on the ground" on the remote Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica. Credit: NASA Goddard
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    In January 2008, a small Twin Otter airplane outfitted with skis touched down on the icy edge of Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier, carrying NASA glaciologist Robert Bindschadler and a crew of scientists and technicians. It was the first time anyone had landed a plane on this ice shelf floating on the edge of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

    It will also probably be the last...

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