Arctic Sea could become iceless by century-end

The Arctic has been losing about 10 percent of its permanent ice layer every 10 years since 1980.

London: The Arctic Sea could become iceless by the century-end, according to a chilling scenario forecast by the world`s leading scientific institutes.

Researchers from CNRS, Universite Joseph Fourier (both in France) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the US, have now explained why the Arctic sea ice has suffered such an unexpected yet dramatic loss over the recent decades exceeding climate model predictions.

Until now, climate models underestimated the rate of ice thinning, which was actually about four times faster than calculations, they argued.

This model bias was due to the poor representation southward drift of the sea ice out of the Arctic basin through the Fram Strait, the Journal of Geophysical Research reports.

When this mechanism was taken into account to correct the discrepancy between simulations and observations, results from the new model suggested that there will be no Arctic Sea ice in summer by the end of the century.

The Arctic has been losing about 10 percent of its permanent ice layer every 10 years since 1980, according to a CNRS statement.

Melting of the Arctic Sea ice has also reached record heights: in mid-September 2007, at the point when sea ice reaches its annual minimum extent, perennial ice covered an area of 4.14 million square km. This record low level was nearly reached again in September 2011 (4.34 million sq km).

Researchers predict that summer ice will disappear altogether at the end of this century. However, when compared with 30 years of detailed satellite observations, these models appear optimistic.


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