The sea around the North Pole will be free of ice in the summer before 2050 – even if the emission reduction targets are met, a shocking study found.
Experts have modeled the impact of various levels of carbon dioxide emissions on Arctic sea ice, noting that the goals of the Paris climate agreement will not be sufficient.
Sea ice in the Arctic grows and shrinks normally with the seasons, but there is still ice left – which is home to animals like polar bears.
However, the team behind the results said that we can still control the frequency and the duration of the Arctic thaw – but only if emissions are reduced.
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The Arctic Ocean will be ice free in the summer before 2050 – even if emission reduction targets are met, a shocking study found. Arctic ice is home to polar bears in the photo
Experts have modeled the impact of various levels of carbon dioxide emissions on Arctic sea ice, noting that the goals of the Paris climate agreement will not be sufficient. In the photo, the difference between the extent of Arctic sea ice in late summer in September 1979 (left) and in September 2019 (right)
The climate modeling study was conducted by climatologist Dirk Notz of the University of Hamburg in Germany and his colleagues.
“If we reduce global emissions quickly and dramatically, and thereby keep global warming below 2 ° C from pre-industrial levels, Arctic sea ice will likely disappear from time to time in summer, even before 2050,” said Dr. Notz.
“It really surprised us,” he added.
Currently, the North Pole is covered in sea ice all year round – but each summer the surface of the sea that the ice covers shrinks before it grows back in winter.
Due to the warming effect of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, areas of the Arctic Ocean that used to be constantly covered in ice began to thaw during the summer months.
In the future – if humanity succeeds in rapidly reducing its emission levels – ice-free years in the Arctic should only happen occasionally.
However, with higher emissions, the Arctic Ocean will become ice-free in the summers of most years.
Sea ice in the Arctic grows and shrinks normally with the seasons, but there is still ice left today – home to animals such as polar bears. In the photo, researchers are testing Arctic sea ice, which may disappear completely in summer before 2050
The additional melt will not only contribute to rising sea levels, but it will also result in the loss of valuable hunting grounds and habitat for polar bears and seals.
In their study, the researchers used the latest climate models to predict the effects of different levels of carbon dioxide on the state of Arctic sea ice.
These are the same models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the environmental research arm of the United Nations.
The full results of the study were published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF LOWER SEA ICE LEVELS?
The amount of Arctic sea ice peaks around March through the end of winter.
NASA recently announced that the maximum amount of sea ice this year is low, after three other record measurements recorded in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
This can lead to a number of negative effects that affect climate, weather, plant and animal life and indigenous human communities.
The amount of sea ice in the Arctic is decreasing, which has dangerous consequences, according to NASA.
In addition, disappearing ice can alter shipping routes and affect coastal erosion and ocean circulation.
NASA researcher Claire Parkinson said: “Arctic sea ice cover continues to be decreasing, which is linked to the continued warming of the Arctic.
“It is a two-way street: warming means that less ice will form and more ice will melt, but also, because there is less ice, less incident solar radiation from the sun is reflected, which contributes to the heating. ‘