New warning: Arctic could run out of ice sooner than predicted

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Scientists warn that the Arctic could run out of sea ice a decade earlier than expected, another clear indication that the climate crisis is developing faster than expected.

According to the latest research published today in the journal Nature Communications, Arctic sea ice could completely disappear as early as the 2030s during September. Even if we significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, experts believe that by the 2050s the Arctic could lose its ice during the summer months.

Scientists analyzed changes in ice extent from 1979 to 2019, comparing different satellite data and climate models. They found that the decline in sea ice is largely the result of pollution warming the planet and that previous models underestimated trends in Arctic ice sheet melting.

"We were surprised to find that the Arctic would remain ice-free this summer even if we did something to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," climatologist Seung-Ki Min of Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea told CNN. Korea.

Arctic ice accumulates during the winter and then melts in the summer. It usually reaches its lowest level in September, and later, with the arrival of colder weather, the cycle begins again. However, if there is no more ice during the summer, it will accumulate more slowly in the winter.

If harmful emissions increase and further accelerate global warming, Min believes that by 2080 the Arctic could be ice-free by the end of October.

The findings of this research are inconsistent with a 2021 report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which stated that the Arctic would be "virtually ice-free near mid-century under medium and high greenhouse gas emissions scenarios." . "Our study shows that this could happen 10 years earlier, regardless of emissions scenarios," Min said.

Over the past few decades, the Arctic has warmed four times faster than the rest of the world, according to a 2022 study. An Arctic without summer sea ice would cause dire consequences worldwide. Namely, white ice reflects solar energy. When it melts, the darker ocean is exposed, which absorbs more heat, which in turn causes further warming.

- The decrease in the level of sea ice can also affect the global climate. "Given the assumption that Arctic warming brings weather extremes, such as heat waves, wildfires and floods in northern latitudes, an earlier total loss of ice during the summer could trigger extreme events sooner than we predicted," Min said.

An ice-free Arctic could also lead to an increase in commercial shipping due to the opening of new routes, and according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Arctic report last year, increased shipping would lead to higher emissions and pollution in the region.

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