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There will be no more summer ice in the Arctic ten years ahead of schedule

Less ice, more business. So for some, it’s almost a dream come true: the Arctic will run out of summer ice a decade ahead of schedule. According to new calculations by an international research group, it could be a warming ocean by September in the early 2030s. Published this Tuesday in St ability.

This complete melting of the Arctic Ocean in the summer will occur at least a decade earlier than predicted even under “low greenhouse gas emissions scenarios,” the scientists say. “The results highlight the profound impact of these emissions on the Arctic.”

The North Sea ice cover has been shrinking for decades. The pace has accelerated especially since 2000. Global warming prevents it from freezing as well as it should and melts faster. If the minimum extent of ice observed in September 2022 was the tenth worst on record, the maximum it reached in March 2023 is the fifth most inexhaustible.

Every year, once the frozen surface reaches its maximum in winter, the Arctic melts until it reaches its minimum, usually in September. That’s when economic activities multiply in these waters. Voyages of ships crossing the ocean with fossil fuels – gas and oil extracted from Arctic fields – are increasing. It can also be killed by the fishing industry or transported goods along the Paso del Norte route, saving many miles for shippers.

In 2022, for example, the record of tonnage transported on these routes was broken, 34 million tons – and this despite sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Of these million tons, 20 were gas and another seven million were oil and products derived from these fossil fuels.

The work of this team of researchers shows that in just a few years, the balance between the extent of winter sea ice and summer melt will be tipped, leaving an ice-free ocean. “This will affect human societies and ecosystems both in the Arctic itself and beyond, as it will alter marine activity, accelerate global warming and alter the carbon cycle.”

This group of scientists believes that the time will inevitably come when this sea will completely melt: “It is important to plan and adapt to an ice-free Arctic in the near future. They celebrate in their work.

In fact, even when the Arctic freezes, it freezes less so that it is no longer impenetrable in winter. The first full commercial crossing made at that time of year – and without the need for an icebreaker escort – was recorded in February 2018. The ice cover is not only smaller, but also weaker.

The contribution of aerosols or natural causes such as solar or volcanic activity to this phenomenon has been identified and is much smaller.

The reason is, unequivocally, the greenhouse effect, which is caused by the gases released by human activity. “Human impacts on Arctic ice loss can be seen year-round and can also be attributed to increased emissions,” as the analyzes allow for different causes of ocean melting to be distinguished.

“The contribution of aerosols or natural causes such as solar or volcanic activity to this phenomenon has been identified and shown to be much smaller,” the paper concludes.

“This is further evidence of how fast global warming is progressing and accelerating impacts on the planet that will affect global societies and economies,” explained Pep Canadian, head of the CSIRO Climate Science Centre, in an analysis by the Science Media Centre. .

“Planetary indicator after planetary indicator, new records are falling and their impact is advancing decades earlier than predicted just a few years ago,” Kandel concludes.

Source: El Diario

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