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NOAA: Arctic ice free in 30 years?

Washington, DC (Global Adventures): The Arctic could be nearly ice free during the summer season within 30 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The agency used current ice coverage observed during the 2007/2008 summer seasons as a base for computer models.

“Computer simulations indicate that Arctic sea ice retreat will not continue at a constant rate into the future,” says NOAA on a new website that emphasizes on the impacts of sea ice loss. “Instead they show abrupt decreases in summer Arctic sea ice cover. Also with decreasing September ice extent trends that are typically four times larger than comparable observed trends. Model projections indicate that abrupt ice retreat is a quite likely event. Which can occur early in the 21st century, with implications a rapid loss of Arctic sea ice.”

While there are considerable variables in the prediction,

NOAA says that most computer models show an accelerating decline in the summer minimum sea ice extent. Currently, sea ice covering most of the central Arctic during the winter season is 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) or thinner. At the end of the summer season in September. After that much of the remaining sea ice in the central Arctic is less than 3.94 feet (1.2 meters) thick.

The agency estimates that 30 years from now sea ice in the central Arctic will be less than 6.56 feet. Also thick during the winter season and very thin at the end of the summer season. Only a small area north of the Canadian Archipelago. Greenland retains some sea ice approaching a thickness of 6.56 feet.

“Pulling this information together on one Web site is a way to highlight the continuing loss of Arctic sea ice in summer and its broader implications for climate,” said James Overland. An oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory whose work appears on the new site. “For example, climate models show that changes in the Arctic can impact weather in the mid-latitudes including the United States, Europe and Asia.”

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Chief Editor at Global Adventures Magazine

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