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Researchers Warn Arctic Ocean could be ‘ice-free’ within the decade

Los Angeles Times: “The loss of Arctic sea ice has long been a graphic measure of human-caused climate change, with wrenching images of suffering polar bears illustrating a worsening planetary crisis. Now, new research has found that Arctic Ocean sea ice is shrinking even faster than previously thought — and that the Arctic may start to see its first “ice-free” days within the current decade. That troubling milestone could occur before the end of the decade or sometime in the 2030s — as many as 10 years earlier than previous projections, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Reviews Earth and Environment. The study defines “ice-free” as when the Arctic Ocean has less than 1 million square kilometers, or 386,000 square miles, of ice…By midcentury — 2035 to 2067 — the Arctic could see consistent ice-free conditions in September, the month when sea ice concentrations are typically at their minimum, the study found. The precise timing of such losses depends on how soon humanity is able to reduce fossil fuel emissions that are contributing to global warming. Under a high-emission scenario in which fossil fuel use continues unabated, the Arctic would be ice-free between the months of May and January by 2100, the study says. Even under a low-emission scenario, the Arctic would still be ice-free between August and October by that same year…”

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