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Arctic sea ice could disappear completely within two months’ time

Arctic sea ice fell by 3.239 million km² in extent in 25 days (i.e. from July 1 to 25, 2020). Melting will likely continue for another two months.

If it continues on its current trajectory, the remaining 6.333 million km² of Arctic sea ice could disappear completely within two months’ time.

The fall in extent over the next two months’ time may not remain as as steep as it was in July, yet the sea ice still could disappear completely. One reason for this is that, over the years, sea ice thickness has been declining even faster than extent.

The rapid decline in sea ice thickness is illustrated by the sequence of images below.

The image on the right further illustrates that sea ice is getting very thin, which threatens the latent heat tipping point to get crossed.

Sea currents and the Coriolis force will make that the influx of warm, salty water into the Arctic Ocean will continue.

With no buffer of sea ice left underneath the surface of the sea ice to absorb incoming ocean heat, more heat will accumulate in the Arctic Ocean, threatening that the methane hydrates tipping point will get crossed.

The animation below was run on July 24, 2020, and shows sea ice thickness over 30 days (last 8 frames are forecasts for July 25 – August 1, 2020).

Here’s another indication that the buffer is disappearing fast. North of Greenland and of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, some 700 km from the North Pole, sea ice is disappearing, precisely where the thickest sea ice used to be located.

The situation is dire and calls for immediate, comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.


• NSIDC Arctic sea ice

• Polar Portal – sea ice volume

• NASA Worldview

• Arctic Hit By Ten Tipping Points

• Fast Path to Extinction

• 2020 Siberian Heatwave continues

• Climate Plan

Source: Arctic-News