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Svalbard is a small archipelago whose climate is influenced by two sources of surface ocean water: (a) The West Spitsbergen Current, moving warm water along the West Coast; (b) East Greenland Current, bringing cold water and pack ice southeastwards. This ice on the East Spitsbergen Current melts slowly in warmer waters and is part of a vital cycle, influencing ocean temperature and salinity (MELTING ICE; Regional Dramas, Global wake-up call)
. Furthermore, ice coverage actually reflects solar radiation whereas water and bare ground absorb it in the form of heat. Accelerated ice-melt would mean not only a change in water temperature and salinity, but also the release of greenhouse gases (currently trapped within ice and permafrost areas) into the atmosphere and further acceleration of the melt as ice coverage (reflective surface of the planet) declines.