Scientists are predicting that the Arctic sea ice may actually expand in the next decade.
In a study published in journal "Geophysical Research Letters," scientists from National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) ran computer models that predicted that the probabilities of the ice expanding and shrinking are actually roughly equal.
The study explained that the fate of Arctic sea ice depends on both climate variability factors and man-made greenhouse gas emission.
In late 20th century, the Arctic sea ice melted faster than computer models predicted due to climate variability. The melting was attributed roughly half to man-made greenhouse gas emission and half to climate variability, stated the study.
In the coming decade, however, climate conditions such as wind patterns could counteract the effects of global warming and allow the Arctic sea ice to stabilize or even expand.
In the long-term, however, the NCAR scientists firmly believe that the Arctic sea ice will shrink.
"When you start looking at longer-term trends, 50 or 60 years, there's no escaping the loss of ice in the summer," said Jennifer Kay of NCAR, the lead author of the study.
Currently, the Arctic Ocean is populated with sea ice both in the summer and in the winter. However, due to global warming, scientists believe the summer ice will be completely gone in just a few decades.
The NCAR study also stated that the trend of global warming will make "both positive and negative [climate] trends become more pronounced."