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Scientists: Arctic snowpack on land melting faster than sea ice

It's not only Arctic sea ice that's receding quickly. Canadian scientists say the Arctic snowpack on land is disappearing in springtime even more quickly. They tell NPR News that has implications for everything from snowmelt runoff and the decline of permafrost to less solar radiation being reflected back into space from the increasingly non-white land.

[Environment Canada scientist Chris] Derksen expected to see a gradual decline, but he was taken aback when he reviewed satellite measurements for the past five years and saw the speed of this loss. Snowmelt decline is occurring at a rate of 18 percent per decade, versus 11 percent per decade for the much talked about Arctic sea ice.

"That was a bit shocking," he says. ...

Syndonia Bret-Harte of the University of Alaska Fairbanks adds:

"Since the Arctic acts as the air conditioner ... for the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, heating up in the Arctic is also probably going to cause feedbacks to heating up in the more southern climate."

Read more at NPR: As Arctic Ice Melts, So Does The Snow, And Quickly