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Septembers in the Arctic could soon be ice-free

If global temperatures increase by two degrees Celsius, summers in the Arctic could be ice-free, according to a new University of Cincinnati study. 

An international team of researchers conducted the study which predicted that through September there would be no Arctic sea ice. 

It’s been suggested that the Arctic will be ice-free during September if temperatures rise 2.5 degrees Celsius. However, this new study shows that sea ice could disappear at just 2 degrees. 

September is when sea ice coverage in the Arctic is at its lowest, and as sea ice coverage shrinks, it takes longer for the Arctic Ocean to freeze over for the winter. 

The researchers wanted to identify the minimum global temperature change that would result in an ice-free Arctic. 

“They use September as a measure because that’s the transition period between summer and winter in the Arctic,” said Won Chang, a co-author of the study. “Ice recedes from June to September, and then in September it begins to grow again in a seasonal cycle. And we’re saying we could have no ice in September.”

For the study, the researchers modeled climate projections of sea ice coverage under different temperature scenarios. 

The models showed that there was a six percent chance that summers could be ice-free if temperatures rose 1.5 degrees Celsius and a 28 percent probability of sea ice disappearing at two degrees. 

Besides the concerning projections for an ice-free Arctic summer, the researchers developed a new modeling approach with a statistical framework for the study. 

“Our work provides a new statistical and mathematical framework to calculate climate change and impact probabilities,” said Jason Evans, a professor who works at the University of New South Wales and its Climate Change Research Centre.

The study findings were published in the journal Nature Communications

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer 

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Image Credit: Shutterstock/online express

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