A paper publish in Nature Climate Change has presented a series of maps of the Arctic region.
The maps show open water seasons - that is, the duration of open water over a year at an individual location - from 1910 to 2100, simulating the expansion of open water over the remainder of this century drawing on 'business-as-usual' models. The maps determine when the open water season will move away from pre-industrial conditions (‘shift’ time) and identify when human forcing will take the Arctic sea-ice system outside its normal bounds (‘emergence’ time).
Most of the Arctic nearshore regions began significantly losing sea ice in 1990 and are projected to move away from the range of internal variability by 2040. The maps predict that ice will only cover the coastal regions for half the year by 2070.
Sea ice has huge impact on most of the Arctic environment, including ecosystems, ocean circulation and animal migration, along with impacts on shipping, tourism and geopolitics.
Image: Kamchatka Coast, Russia
Image credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Centre