Climate change is changing entire landscapes. This is particularly evident in the Arctic, which may run out of ice in summer in ten years' time.
Frankfurt – Drought summer and extreme weather: A glance out of the window is often enough to determine the consequences of climate change. In Europe, climate change is mainly leading to extreme heat, which is expected to become more frequent and violent. Other places in the world are changing even more drastically. It is well known that rising temperatures are melting the ice of the Arctic. According to a study, however, this is happening much faster than previously assumed. In the worst case, there could be no more ice in the Arctic in the summer in ten years.
|Arctic.||Polar region at the North Pole|
|Period:||According to the study, ten years earlier than previously thought|
According to the study, Arctic ice is melting much faster than previously assumed – ice-free in ten years
In one study, researchers evaluated satellite data from more than 40 years that observed the decline of the ice surface at sea in the region of the North Pole and came to a frightening conclusion: Even with low CO₂ emissions, the Arctic could be without ice a decade earlier in summer than previously assumed.
"The results indicate that, regardless of emission scenarios, the first sea-ice-free September will occur as early as the 2030s to 2050s," write the authors led by South Korean researcher Min Seung Ki from Pohang University of Science and Technology in the journal Nature Communications. The Arctic's ice cover has been shrinking for decades and last year was at its lowest level ever recorded.
Arctic ice-free in summer in just ten years – researchers will be able to extract data from 40 years
For their forecast, the researchers evaluated the data for each calendar month between 1979 and 2019 and first compared them with simulated changes. Arctic ice stocks reach their lowest level in September. "The Arctic sea ice area has declined rapidly every year in recent decades, with an ever-increasing decline since 2000," says the team, which also includes climate researcher Dirk Notz from the University of Hamburg.
According to a study, the ice of the Arctic is melting faster than previously thought – in ten years it could be ice-free in summer. © Melanie Bergmann/dpa
New study on Arctic ice melt goes beyond the Climate Council – ice-free Arctic in ten years
According to the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in a scenario of medium and high greenhouse gas emissions by mid-this century, the Arctic will be virtually ice-free in the month of September. However, the results of the study go beyond that.
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The researchers conclude from their prediction "that we could experience an unprecedented ice-free Arctic climate in the next decade or two, regardless of the emission scenario." The effects of an ice-free Arctic are not limited to the environment of the North Pole, but can be felt in ecosystems worldwide. According to the researchers, it is therefore now important to prepare for a seasonally ice-free Arctic and to plan accordingly. It is not only the Arctic that is affected by climate change, it is even the greatest challenge facing humanity, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). (Kiba/dpa)