Did the authors of this travel to the Arctic or even look up from their computer screens out the window?
Keep this article in mind over the coming weeks.
Perhaps it will take another 32 years for the remaining 0.5 meters of ice to disappear?
Could the Arctic have ice-free summers in our lifetime?
2 April, 2018
One of the big questions about global warming is when — or if — the Arctic will be ice-free each summer.
A study published Monday said if the world warms 7.2 degrees this century, the Arctic will likely have a three-month, ice-free period each summer by 2050. It would be a worst-case scenario never seen in recorded human history.
By the end of the century, the ice-free summer could jump to five months a year, the study said.
The shrinking sea ice is caused by rising global temperatures that stem from the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil, gas and coal, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Sea ice floats on the ocean and has an annual cycle of freezing in the winter and melting each summer.
Why does it matter? Arctic ice not only is important to polar bears and other wildlife, but it also helps regulate the planet’s temperature. Recent studies also said that Arctic sea ice — and the lack of it — can wreak havoc with weather patterns as far away as the United States.
A visible sign of climate change is the drastic decline in Arctic sea ice. Since 1979, the minimum annual area of sea ice in the Arctic has dropped by about 40%, as measured each September.
More: Arctic sea ice nears all-time record wintertime low
This study, which used computer models to estimate future warming and melting, outlined a range of possibilities for Arctic sea ice, depending on how much Earth's temperature rises.
For example, if the world warms only 2.7 degrees, which was the goal set by the Paris Climate Agreement, the probability of ice-free summers drops dramatically.
With a rise of 2.7 degrees, "half of the time we stay within our current summer sea ice regime," said Alexandra Jahn, author of the study and an assistant professor at the University of Colorado. "If we reach 3.6 degrees of warming, the summer sea ice area will always be below what we have experienced in recent decades.”
The study was published in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Climate Change.
A separate article in the journal said that while the difference between a rise of 2.7 degrees and 3.6 degrees is clear, exact probabilities about the future of summertime Arctic ice should be viewed with caution:
"The sensitivity of sea ice to global warming in the real world is highly uncertain, which makes it difficult to assess whether sea ice is lost at the correct rate in climate models,” wrote James Screen, a climate scientist at the University of Exeter.