Arctic summers will be nearly ice-free by 2050

NOAA researchers James Overland and Muyin Wang reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that arctic summers will be nearly ice-free by 2050— about 20 years sooner than previously predicted. They said more research is needed to prepare for the change.

“Rapid Arctic sea ice loss is probably the most visible indicator of global climate change; it leads to shifts in ecosystems and economic access, and potentially impacts weather throughout the northern hemisphere.”

NOAA’s Overland and Wang considered three scenarios. The worst, based on trends in the past 10 years, showed nearly ice-free arctic summers by 2020.

Other researchers reported in March that recent climate change has affected what’s growing in the Arctic. They said vegetation zones may shift north by 20 degrees in latitude by 2050, in addition to a 5-degree shift since the 1980s. That could increase vegetation in the Arctic by 50%.

A study published in the journal Nature by Dutch and British researchers says computer models show that a “methane pulse” could speed up global warming. It would create $60 trillion in damage, 80% of which would be borne by developing nations in Africa, Asia and South America.

Following local sightings of large herds of walrus in northwest Alaska, federal scientists investigated and found that thousands of walrus had been arriving since the middle of September, forced to move because of melting Arctic sea ice.

Source | CIRCA