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Ice-free Arctic summers could happen as soon as this decade, scientists warn

Published Mar 6th, 2024 9:41PM EST
arctic ocean slate
Image: Joshua / Adobe

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Scientists have issued a chilling warning. According to new research, ice-free Arctic summers could be a reality within the next decade. Scientists say the waters found around the Arctic could be mostly water during the summer months as early as 2035 if fossil fuel emissions continue at the current pace.

These are huge concerns, too. If the Arctic heats up enough during the coming summers that it ends up with practically no sea ice, then we’ll see a huge transformation of the northern habitats of animals like polar bears, seals, and more.

The new findings are published in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, and the future they suggest for the Arctic is a very bleak one that I honestly hope we never see. But, with climate change continuing the way it has, it’s very likely that we’ll see ice-free Arctic summers sooner rather than later.

Polar bear with cubImage source: A.Lukin / Adobe

The new projections have us seeing less sea ice in the Arctic summer months 10 years earlier than scientists previously estimated. Further, they say that the current estimates show we could have consistently ice-free Septembers in the Arctic anywhere between 2035 and 2067.

The exact year that it happens, though, is really dependent on how quickly the world can reduce the amount of fossil fuels being burned. Scientists continue to come up with new ideas on how to combat climate change. But, we have yet to see a solid idea that enough people are pushing to actually make a difference.

It gets worse, though. The researchers also say that by the end of the century, we might see ice-free Arctic conditions between May and January, too, if emissions remain high. If emissions fall, though, we could see ice-free conditions from August to October instead.

No matter how you break it down, the idea of an ice-free Arctic summer isn’t appealing. And, if global temperatures continue to rise the way they have been, we could see more climate doom issues popping up, like the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.