According to a new study, Arctic sea ice could be completely gone by 2035. This is after comparing present-day situations with those during the last interglacial period some 127,000 years ago. The researchers said that the findings, which were published in Nature Climate Change, are essential in assisting in predicting future climate change patterns. Joint lead author Maria Vittoria Guarino, with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), confirmed that the advances made in climate modeling mean that they can create a more accurate simulation of the Earth’s past climate.
Guarino added that during the last interglacial for decades, scientists have been working hard in solving the mystery of high temperatures in the Arctic. Researchers were able to see how the Arctic sea ice using the U.K. Met Office’s Hadley Centre climate model. They saw frozen ocean water that forms and melts in the ocean, totally melted at that time. According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), interglacial is the geological period between an “ice age.” During this period, large, continental ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere have melted.
Louise Sime, also a joint lead author with BAS, indicated that they know the Arctic is experiencing noteworthy changes as the planet warms. Sime added that they are in a better position to understand what will happen in the future through understanding what happened during Earth’s last warm period. Sime concluded that people need to be directing all their minds on achieving a low-carbon world as soon as humanly feasible because of the prospect of the loss of sea ice by 2035.
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), Sea ice is vital because it helps control the global climate and is different from icebergs, glaciers, and ice shelves, which originate on land. NSIDC added that when rays of the sun hit sea ice, 80% of it gets reflected back into space. But shallow pools of water or “melt ponds” are created when the sea ice melts in the summer. They affect the amount of sunlight that gets absorbed and the one that gets reflected back into space. It heats the ocean and pushes the Arctic temperature higher when more sunlight is absorbed.
The scholars also revealed that during the last interglacial, strong sunlight in the spring created many melt ponds, which had an important role in sea ice melt. The study concluded that what supported the prediction of a “fast retreat of future Arctic summer sea ice was a simulation using the same model looking at future patterns.