SOURCE: The Independent
DATE: April 20, 2020
SNIP: The Arctic Ocean will likely be ice-free during summers before 2050, researchers say.
Amid rapid global warming – with average Arctic temperatures already 2C above what they were in the pre-industrial era – the extent of the sea ice is diminishing ever faster.
As the climate crisis worsens, scientists say it is now only the efficacy of protection measures which will determine for how many more years our planet will continue to have a northern ice cap year round.
A major new piece of research involving 21 leading institutes and using 40 different climate models has found that whatever action is taken, we are on course to see ice-free summers in the coming decades.
The research is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The scientists considered the future of Arctic sea-ice cover in scenarios with high future CO2 emissions and little climate protection – as expected, Arctic sea ice disappeared quickly in summer in these simulations.
But the study also found the Arctic summer sea ice also disappears “occasionally” if CO2 emissions are rapidly reduced.
Dirk Notz, who leads the sea-ice research group at University of Hamburg, said: “If we reduce global emissions rapidly and substantially, and thus keep global warming below 2C relative to preindustrial levels, Arctic sea ice will nevertheless likely disappear occasionally in summer even before 2050. This really surprised us.”