Pacific climate wobble speeds Arctic ice melt

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Thanks to a natural sea temperature cycle, a Pacific climate wobble, the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in the summer in a decade or two.

LONDON, 6 March, 2019 – Sunlit skies and bright blue water could come earlier to the Arctic. So much earlier, thanks to a distant Pacific climate wobble.

Scientists now think that the Arctic Ocean could be effectively ice-free within the next 20 years. Thereby opening it to sea lanes across the polar waters between Europe. Also to the US and east Asia.

Svalbard and the rest of the Arctic could be free of ice by 2040. Image: By Thomas Lipke on Unsplash
Svalbard and the rest of the Arctic could be free of ice by 2040. Image: By Thomas Lipke on Unsplash

Climate researchers have repeatedly warned, in the last two decades, that because of global warming the ice sheet that masks the Arctic Ocean has been thinning and could in effect vanish altogether in summertime by 2050.

New research has brought forward the prediction date. And this time the effective agency is not just global warming driven by profligate combustion of fossil fuels worldwide, but a natural cyclic phenomenon known to oceanographers as the interdecadal Pacific oscillation, or IPO.

“The trajectory is towards becoming ice-free in the summer …  there’s more chance of it being on the earlier end of that window than the later end”

Over a cycle of between one to three decades, the average ocean temperatures of the north Pacific shift up or down by about 0.5°C.

Source: Climate News Network