According to the study published in the journal Nature Communications and led by the University of Science and Technology in Pohang, South Korea, the Arctic could be completely ice-free in the summer within 10 years, more precisely until summer 2030, with a decade of earlier than forecast.
Climate crisis, global warming and greenhouse gas emissions are the causes of this apocalyptic scenario: all anthropic causes. The new forecasts demonstrate the importance of planning for and adapting to a seasonally sea-ice-free Arctic in the nearer future than previously thought.
The researchers led by Yeon-Hee Kim analyzed the data collected from 1979 to 2019, to build a model that can show the ice trend in the future under different conditions. The findings suggest that human activities have had a major impact on Arctic sea ice decline, which can be observed throughout the year and can largely be attributed to rising greenhouse gas emissions.
The contributions of natural factors such as solar and volcanic activity were instead much lower. The data indicate that the Arctic could become ice-free in summer between 2030 and 2050, under all simulated greenhouse gas emission scenarios.
This contrasts with previous assessments, which for lower emissions levels did not predict a sea ice-free Arctic summer.
Ice-free Arctic in Summer within the next 10 years
Therefore, while on the one hand the Montreal Protocol of 1987 to reduce the hole in the ozone layer made it possible to postpone the dreaded first Arctic summer without ice by about ten years, the human activities at the origin of greenhouse gas emissions seem not to escape the ice of the Arctic.
Arctic sea ice goes through a seasonal cycle, growing in size and thickness during the coldest winter months, before shrinking as temperatures rise in the spring and summer, with the lowest usually occurring in September.
Arctic sea ice has been declining rapidly throughout the seasons in recent decades, with the decline increasing since 2000. Arctic ice-free summer would be enormously damaging to natural ecosystems both inside and outside the Arctic, by changing ocean currents, altering the carbon cycle and further accelerating Arctic warming. In fact, as ice surfaces decrease, darker areas of the open ocean absorb more heat, causing ocean temperatures to rise.