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Alert! Artic Will Be Ice-Free in 2050?

Nov 13, 2016 04:10 AM EST
Greenland: A Laboratory For The Symptoms Of Global Warming
A glacial toe is seen on July 15, 2013 near Ilulissat, Greenland. As the sea levels around the globe rise, researchers affiliated with the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications.
(Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The arctic sea ice is responsible for keeping Polar Regions cool and helps moderate global climate. Now, can you imagine living on earth without these ice sheets?

A new study published in the journal Science revealed that CO2 emissions are accelerating the rate of sea ice loss in the arctic. If the ice melting would stay at this rate, we might have an ice-free Arctic Ocean by 2050.

Based on the researchers' calculations, for every metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted, about three square meters of Arctic summer sea ice disappears.  National Snow and Ice data Center revealed in their recent report that for October 2016, Arctic sea ice extent averaged 6.40 million square kilometers, the lowest October in the satellite record.

"Put simply, for each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, the climate warms a little bit. To compensate for this warming, the sea ice edge moves northward to a region with less incoming solar radiation. This then causes the sea ice area to shrink. Simple geometric reasons cause these processes to combine to the observed linearity," explained Dr.  Dirk Notz, lead author of the research at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany that studies sea ice said in a press release.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography reported on September that we have passed the earth's carbon tipping point for good. And that from then on, our monthly CO2 emissions value will remain or will be higher than 400 parts per million. This makes arctic sea ice more at risk of disappearing.

The linear relationship between Artic sea ice melting and CO2 emissions helps us underscore our role in the  proliferation of global climate change and highlights the significance of lowering emissions to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Notz told Christian Science Monitor News in a separate interview that simply travelling via fossil-fuel powered car from one place to another is elevating levels of CO2 emissions.

"Our study now provides individuals with the sense that their own individual actions make a difference," Notz tells The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview. "If I decide to drive my car a little less or to buy a car that uses less fuel, for example, all these little actions will make a difference for sea ice."

Meanwhile, the researchers also argued that climate models are underestimating the warming effect and sensitivity of Arctic sea ice to rising CO2 levels.

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