Using a new climate simulation tool, a team of US and Chinese climate scientists have predicted that the Arctic will ice-free by 2058. Their research was published in a National Academy of Sciences paper called Reducing spread in climate model projections of a September ice-free Arctic. It shows that, starting in 2058, the continent will no longer have ice in September – the period when the Arctic begins to freeze over.
Climate scientists have long warned about the Arctic being ice-free and have used many models and simulations to predict when this might happen. The new climate model, called Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), takes into consideration several new factors including ice thickness and the speed at which it will melt.
As the continent’s ice is getting thinner, the team predict hardly any ice will be left by the end of the summer. CIMP5 also allowed the researchers to make comparisons between historical projections and what actually transpired in the real world.
What they found, from the time period 1979 through to 2011, was a scenario that best represented what actually occurred and improved accuracy. The overall result of their simulations gave rise to the same general prediction—that the Arctic will be ice-free for several months of every year, starting sometime during the years 2054 to 2058.
Read the full report here.