Arctic ocean could be ice-free in summer by 2030 | Polarjournal
Early at the beginning of summer, the ice cover at the North Pole has cracked open. This photo was taken in early April 2012 directly at the North Pole. (Image: Heiner Kubny)

The duration of the ice season will be shorter due to later freezing and earlier ice opening. This is reported by Vladimir Ivanov, expert of the Geography Department of the Lomonossov Moscow University. Ice cover in the Barents and Kara Seas can become a seasonal phenomenon that can only be observed during the winter months. This phenomenon could become a typical condition already in the current decade, Ivanov told the TASS news agency.

The Russian icebreaker “50 Years of Victory” in search of ice. Experts estimate that towards the end of this century, the Arctic could be ice-free for several months in summer. (Image: Heiner Kubny)

“Some Arctic adjacent seas may become seasonally ice-free in summer as early as the current decade. First of all, these will be the seas of the Atlantic Arctic, the Barents and Kara Seas. This trend started after 2007. During the summer season, these areas remained partially ice-free. At the same time, in the year of record low ice cover in the summer of 2012, all Siberian shelf margins were completely ice-free for one to two weeks,” the expert told TASS.

The researcher clarified that in winter “the ice in the Arctic will not disappear”. At the same time, experts estimate that by 2080-2100, the Arctic Ocean may be completely ice-free for more than a month in summer, depending on how intense greenhouse gas emissions will be.

“The duration of the ice season becomes shorter due to later freezing and earlier ice opening. In general, freezing in different Arctic regions starts 12-15 days later per decade and earlier ice opening tends to start 5-8 days earlier per decade,” Ivanov said. “However, these numbers vary widely by geographic area.”

Vladimir Ivanov is a senior researcher in the Department of Oceanology at Lomonossov University in Moscow. He has contributed significantly to the development of Arctic oceanography. (Photo: aari.ru)

The expert named the main factors contributing to the reduction of the ice cover in the Arctic. One of these is “Arctic amplification”, which leads to an increasing rate of air temperature warming in the surface layer of this region. It is about 2.5 times higher than the average planetary value. Another factor is vertical mixing, which causes the upper layers of water to be “heated up” by warmer layers deep in the ocean, the scientist said.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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