The Arctic Ocean will become ice-free
The ice in the Arctic Ocean will melt completely during the summer and appear again by winter in 2050.
This forecast was announced by group of scientists from 21 research institutes from around the world under the leadership of Dirk Notz from the University of Hamburg in Germany. Their work has been published in Geophysical Research Letters.
The researchers have analyzed 40 different climate models that show possible changes in the Arctic, taking into account the different amounts of carbon dioxide emissions into atmosphere.
In computer simulations the ice in the Arctic was rapidly melting during the summer at high emission levels. But suddenly it turned out that even with a significant reduction in emissions, it would also completely disappear during the warm season.
“If we reduce global emissions quickly and significantly, keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, the Arctic sea ice will still disappear in summer; this process will begin to happen before 2050. That really surprised us”, said Dirk Notz.
Today the North Pole is covered with sea ice all year round. Every summer, the area of sea ice is decreasing, but growing again in winter. Due to global warming, the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by ice has shrunk rapidly over the past few decades. This significantly affects the Arctic ecosystem and climate. Sea ice is the habitat of polar bears and seals. It reflects the sunlight, protecting the Arctic from overheating.