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The short summary

The Arctic region is warming nearly more than 3 times faster than the rest of the world. Under all IPCC scenarios, even the most optimistic one, the Arctic Sea will be completely ice free during the summer already as soon as the 30’s or 40’s. In this way, the Arctic will loose its power as “global refrigerator” and regulator of global temperature. An ice free summer will create a strong feedback loop as the ice sheets will not be able to reflect the heat and energy of the sun (the so called Albedo effect). Instead, the dark ocean will absorb most of the heat which further accelerates the temperature increase of the Arctic Sea and the melting of the remaining ice.

This risks many devastating consequences, such as further global warming, potentially the release of vast methane reserves from under the seabed, accelerated melting of the Greenland icesheet, and the increase of extreme weather events on the Northern Hemisphere. What happens in the Arctic, does not stay in the Arctic. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is a great resource with up-to-date information on the Arctic and Antarctic.

The Arctic amplification

Arctic temperature rise graphed against global trend (source: NOAA Earth System Research Laboratories (ESRL)

Reduction of Arctic sea ice and sea ice age March 2000- 2023

A strong reduction of the multi year ice can be seen

The IPCC scenarios

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an organization of the United Nations that evaluates the risks of climate change. The panel consists of hundreds of experts from around the world, including universities, research centers, businesses, environmental organizations, and other organizations.┬áIn the ‘State of the Cryosphere’ report 2022 by the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI), the impact of the different possible IPCC scenarios are determined specifically for the cryosphere. In all of these scenarios, the Arctic summer sea ice will disappear.

Recommended scientific reports

IPCC – Chapter 3 Polar Regions (2022)

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Earth’s Future – Arctic Sea Ice Response to Flooding of the Snow Layer in Future Warming Scenarios (2021)

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Steven J Desch – Arctic Ice Management (2016)

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CCAG – A Global State of Emergency (2021)

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AMAP- Arctic Climate Change Update (2021)

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NOAA – Arctic Report Card (2023)

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ICCI – State of the Cryosphere (2022)

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Our own research

L.L. van Dijke – The implementation of Arctic ice management (2022)

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Laura van Dijke, Hayo Hendrikse and Fonger Ypma – Assessment of Regional Arctic Ice Management With a Focus on Solar Radiation Management (2023)

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