Study: Arctic getting darker, making Earth warmer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Arctic isn't nearly as bright and white as it used to be, because of more ice melting in the ocean. And according to a new study, that's turning out to be a global problem.

With more dark, open water in the summer, less of the sun's heat is reflected back into space. So, according to the study, the entire Earth is absorbing more heat than expected.

In fact, the study's lead author says the extra absorbed energy is so big, it measures about one-quarter of the entire heat-trapping effect of carbon dioxide. Ian Eisenman -- a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California -- says he found that the Arctic grew 8 percent darker between 1979 and 2011. And he says that means more warming.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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APPHOTO WX108: This handout photo provided by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Arctic sea ice in 2013. The Arctic isn't nearly as bright and white as it used to be because of more ice melting in the ocean, and that's turning out to be a global problem, a new study says. With more dark, open water in the summer, less of the sun's heat is reflected back into space. So the entire Earth is absorbing more heat than expected, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (AP Photo/NOAA) (12 Dec 2013)

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