The Arctic Ocean could be ‘ice-free’ by 2030s

A study published in Nature Reviews Earth and Environment on Tuesday made a terrifying prediction that the Arctic Ocean could be completely free of ice in a decade. 

Researchers noted in the study that since satellite observations began in the late 70s, the Arctic Ocean’s ice cover and ice thickness have "declined conspicuously."

Scientists said that if the ongoing warming of the planet continues, the world will see an ice-free Arctic by 2035-2067. Although the earliest ice-free conditions could potentially occur in the 2020s to 2030s. 

The study defined "ice-free" as when the Arctic Ocean has less than 400,000 square miles of ice. 

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Alexandra Jahn, the study’s lead author, told the Los Angeles Times, "It’s no longer a remote possibility that might happen at some point." 

"Unfortunately, it basically occurs under all the emission scenarios in our climate models, so it seems like it’s going to happen and so we need to be ready for that," Jahn explained. 

The release of the study followed a swarm of record-breaking temperatures being recorded across the globe. 

Last December, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed its annual report which found 2023 was the Arctic’s sixth-warmest year on record resulting in a continuous decline of sea ice in the region. 

That record-setting heat has continued into 2024 with heat records on land and sea already being broken in the year’s first month. 

According to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, January 2024 was the world’s warmest January on record. 

"2024 starts with another record-breaking month – not only is it the warmest January on record, but we have also just experienced a 12-month period of more than 1.5°C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial reference period," said Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, in a statement.

January marked the eighth month in a row that has been the warmest on record. 

READ MORE: January was the world's warmest on record, scientists say