The recent retreat of Arctic sea ice is likely to accelerate so rapidly that in a little over 20 years, as early as 2040, the Arctic Ocean could become nearly devoid of ice during the summer, as a result of global warming.
Scenarios run on supercomputers by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) show that the amount of sea ice each September could be reduced so abruptly that, within about 20 years, it may begin retreating four times faster than at any time in the past that we’re aware of. NCAR researcher Marika Holland says, “?Our research suggests that the decrease over the next few decades could be far more dramatic than anything that has happened so far. These changes are surprisingly rapid.
“As the ice retreats, the ocean transports more heat to the Arctic and the open water absorbs more sunlight, further accelerating the rate of warming and leading to the loss of more ice. This is a positive feedback loop with dramatic implications for the entire Arctic region.”
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