Despite rising global average temperatures, we might see a short retrieve in the rapid decrease in Arctic sea ice in the coming decade. But the unexpected phenomenon will ultimately disappear after the estimated period of time.
According to a study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), a number of computer simulations indicated that there would be a temporary halt to the loss of the ice or even expand for a decade or so. However, the scenario won't be a long lasting one as most of the summer ice would be melted away due to climate change within 50 to 60 years.
"The computer simulations suggest that we could see a 10-year period of stable ice or even an increase in the extent of the ice," said NCAR scientist Jennifer Kay, the lead author of the research. The results of the study appeared this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), published by the American Geophysical Union. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation.
Kay said that over the last decade, the observed ice loss has been speeded up. However, he stressed that the fate of sea ice in the next 10 years wound depend on human activity, as well as on unpredictable climate variability.
"The computer modeling study reinforces previous findings by other researchers that the level of Arctic sea ice loss observed in recent decades cannot be explained by natural causes alone, and that the ice will eventually melt away during summer if the climate continues to warm," Kay said.
Scientists used "Community Climate System Model", the latest version of the most powerful climate modeling software in the world to look at both short term and long term trends of ice melting. To check the accuracy of future forecasts, scientists used the running simulations of the 20th century.
According to studies, since 1979, the amount of summertime ice in the Arctic has decreased by about a third. A report by the National Snow and Ice Data Center said that this July a new record for minimum sea ice covers.
"Once you initiate the process you accelerate the whole thing," LiveScience quoted Josefino Comiso, a senior scientist at the cyrospheric sciences branch of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, as saying. "If the area becomes warmer that means that the ice doesn't have as much time to grow. And in the process it's generally thinner every year than the previous year, and if it's thinner then it's more vulnerable to melt in the following summer."
As another scientist Julienne Stroeve at the National Snow and Ice Data Center says, "Sea ice ups and downs happen... You might get more variability for awhile until the ice gets thin enough that it just all goes away. But this doesn't in any way contradict the long-term sea ice loss," LiveScience reported.