A new analysis published yesterday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) predicts that the Arctic could be virtually ice-free as soon as 30 years from now. Previous forecasts had indicated that such an event was likely by the end of the century. The researchers, Muyin Wang of the University of Washington and James E. Overland of the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, stated
Using the observed 2007/2008 September sea ice extents as a starting point, we predict an expected value for a nearly sea ice free Arctic in September by the year 2037. The first quartile of the distribution for the timing of September sea ice loss will be reached by 2028.The analysis was done using the 6 IPCC models which were most accurate in simulating currently observed sea ice conditions.
Image (click to enlarge): "The heavy red line is the sea-ice extent observed since the 1950s. Six models that most accurately depict that ice extent are shown with thin colored lines. The heavy blue line is the average of those six models and projects ice-free Septembers in 20 to 30 years. In contrast, the heavy yellow line is the average sea-ice extent of all 23 models including outliers unable to reproduce current sea-ice conditions." (From Univ. of Washington/NOAA)