The planet continues to warm up at an alarming rate, and the latest research has discovered an alarming fact about the Arctic. Research involving 21 different institutes across the planet which looked at more than 40 different climate models all came to the same shocking conclusion.
If current climate trends continue, the summer months in the Arctic will see a complete lack of ice in the ocean, according to the study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The North Pole has ice all year round as it stands, but even keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels will now not be enough to save the ice in the summer months, something which the research describes as “catastrophic”.
Ed Blockley, who leads the UK Met Office’s polar climate programme and was one of the team behind the new research, said: “Alarmingly the models repeatedly show the potential for ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean before 2050, almost irrespective of the measures taken to mitigate the effects of climate change.
“The signal is there in all possible futures. This was unexpected and is extremely worrying.
“That’s not something we’ve seen before in these projections.
“A winter ice-free event would be catastrophic, for some wildlife species for example, that live and hunt around the sea ice.”
Prof Dirk Notz, at the University of Hamburg, Germany, said: “If we keep global warming below 2C, Arctic sea ice will nevertheless likely disappear occasionally in summer even before 2050. This really surprised us.”
Since 1975, the world has been warming at an alarming rate, with scientists stating the global temperature has risen by roughly 0.15-0.20C per decade thanks to climate change.
While this figure seems relatively low, global warming is undoubtedly having an effect on the polar ice caps which continue to melt.
Since 1979, the volume of ice in the Arctic, or North Pole, has shrunk by an astonishing 80 percent – which scientists have warned will cause major sea level rises.
If just the West Antarctic Ice sheet, where the Pine Island Glacier is located, were to completely melt, sea levels would rise by three metres.
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Climate models have shown that a sea level rise of more than two metres could permanently submerge large parts of the British coastline with the likes of Hull, Peterborough, Portsmouth and parts of East London and the Thames Estuary all under threat.
The planet has already seen an increase of 1C compared to pre-industrial levels which will contribute massively to the melting of the ice caps and subsequent sea level rise.
As it stands, sea levels are rising at about 8mm a year due to melting ice, and while that does not seem like much, the implications for future generations could be huge.
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