Scientists may have seriously underestimated the speed at which Arctic sea ice will melt in the coming decades, according to a study published today.

Researchers have found that the sea ice, which is essential for polar bears to hunt seals, is melting far more quickly than the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted, largely because of accelerated warming caused by climate change.

The IPCC models now seem very cautious and predict that summer sea ice in the Arctic could disappear completely around 2080 but scientists from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado, suggest that the loss could occur 30 years earlier if current melting rates are maintained.

Julienne Stroeve, the lead researcher, said: “Current model projections may in fact provide a conservative estimate of future Arctic change, and that the summer Arctic sea ice may disappear considerably earlier than IPCC projections.”


Comments are closed.