Researchers sound the alarm over an “unprecedented ice-free” threat to the Arctic.

by Rebecca Falconer and Andrew Freedman, Axios

It’s too late to stop summer Arctic sea ice melting — even in a low-emissions scenario that caps global warming at a 1.5°C target in line with the Paris Agreement, according to a new study.

Why it matters: The peer-reviewed findings on the effects of human-caused climate change in the region, published in Nature Communicationssuggest the first ice-free summer could be in the 2030s. That’s a decade sooner than previously projected.

Thought bubble: Many studies have projected when the Arctic sea ice would be seasonally ice-free, and all could be proven wrong given the nonlinearities and variability inherent in the Arctic climate system.

A wide low angle view of melting sea ice floes in still waters of Northern Arctic with iceberg and glacial wall in background.Climate Crisis and Breakdown.Climate emergency.Image
  • One thing is for sure though, there are going to be surprises, many of them in a warmer, less ice-covered direction. Using different techniques to examine these questions is valuable, since the region is already heating up so quickly. That applies to the climate and geopolitics.

What they did: Researchers examined satellite data and climate models from 1979-2019 to see how Arctic sea ice has changed.

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