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Tim Radford – Arctic Ocean could be ice-free before mid-century

LONDON, 5 November, 2016 Two scientists have worked out what it would take to melt all the ice in the Arctic Ocean.

If their sums are right, then by the time human beings have burned enough fossil fuels to add 1,000 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, the Arctic Ocean will be free of ice in September – the annual minimum – and the world’s shipping will have a new, safe, fast route across the Arctic Circle.

Quite when this moment will happen depends entirely on the rate that humans add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. But the two researchers calculate that for every metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted, the Arctic will lost
3.3 square metres of sea ice.

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