Saturday, November 05, 2016

Arctic Ocean Could Be Ice-Free Before Mid-Century

By 2050 human beings will have added enough carbon dioxide to the atmosphere to melt all the Arctic’s sea ice, research predicts.

The average American melts almost 50 square metres of ice a year. (Image Credit: Christopher Michel via Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Two scientists have worked out what it would take to melt all the ice in the Arctic Ocean.

If their sums are right, then by the time human beings have burned enough fossil fuels to add 1,000 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, the Arctic Ocean will be free of ice in September – the annual minimum – and the world’s shipping will have a new, safe, fast route across the Arctic Circle.

Quite when this moment will happen depends entirely on the rate that humans add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.  But the two researchers calculate that for every metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted, the Arctic will lose 3.3 square meters of sea ice.

Melt rate
Right now, humanity in total is releasing 35 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, so the 1,000-billion-ton mark will be achieved before mid-century, and the north polar ocean ice will drop for the first time below 1 million square kilometers, leaving the Arctic almost entirely open sea.

Climate scientists predicted years ago that – at present rates of melting – the Arctic could be ice-free in September by mid-century.  What Dirk Notz  of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany and Julienne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado report in the US journal Science is that they have established a direct correlation between emissions and ice loss.

Read more at Arctic Ocean Could Be Ice-Free Before Mid-Century

No comments:

Post a Comment