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Pole vault: Arctic Ocean could be void of September sea ice if temperatures rise just a few degrees: researchers


If warming trends continue, sea ice could be gone in September. (Eva Pum/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Melting sea ice could be the Arctic’s tragic thaw.

An alarming new research paper by scientists at the University of Cincinnati posits that arctic sea ice could vanish through September each every year if average global temperatures increase by as little as 2 degrees Celsius.

The study predicts that the Arctic Ocean might be devoid of ice in September with the relatively minor temperature change.

“The target is the sensitivity of sea ice to temperature,” said Won Chang, a study co-author and mathematics professor. “What is the minimum global temperature chance that eliminates all arctic sea ice in September? What’s the tipping point?”

Data reveals September is the month that sees the Arctic Ocean’s least ice cover during the year after the short polar summer, stated the paper.

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

The less summer ice the Arctic has, the longer it takes for the Arctic Ocean to ice back over during the winter, which spells trouble for Arctic wildlife such as seals and polar bears that rely on sea ice to hunt and breed.

“Most likely, September Arctic sea ice will effectively disappear between approximately 2 and 2.5 (degrees) of global warming,” the study indicated. “Yet limiting the warming to 2 (degrees) may not be sufficient to prevent an ice-free Arctic Ocean.”

Keeping warming to within 2 degrees is the goal of the Paris Agreement, the international effort to curb carbon emissions. President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the accord in 2018.