The Earth's heat budget is the result of a complex interaction that depends on the atmosphere, the oceans, and how this heat is exchanged geographically. Most people today are somewhat aware of a number of problems that may arise from global warming. However, to what extent these changes will occur remains a major issue in climate prediction. Obviously, one of the imminent features of the global climate system is the natural, steep temperature gradient that exists between the cold polar regions—where the Earth is most easily able to release heat—and the much warmer, lower latitudes. If one follows the more recent literature, there seems to be little doubt that future temperature increase will first be detected in the Arctic [Dickson, 1999], due to the various temperature-related processes that occur there [Johannessen et al., 1995; Grotefendt et al., 1998].
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