Early warning of future rapid Arctic sea ice loss


The Arctic is currently transitioning toward a new climatic state that will be characterized by seasonally sea-ice-free conditions almost every year from the 2050s, with widespread ecological, climatic, and societal consequences. There is growing evidence that the future summer sea ice retreat will not occur at a constant rate. Indeed, climate model simulations are suggestive of pronounced sub-decadal fluctuations on top of the long-term trend, leading to periods of relative stability followed by abrupt sea ice decline in hardly 3-5 years. A lot remains to be understood regarding the precursors, mechanisms, predictability, and impacts of these rapid events. In particular, it is unclear how close we might be to the next one.

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Published on December 01, 2022