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Ice-free Arctic summers expected by 2050s

A new report suggests that the Arctic will see its first icefree summer in the 2050s.

Improved computer simulations suggest that the Arctic will see its first ice-free summer in 2050, a decade earlier than previously projected.

Climate scientists from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom have fine-tuned simulations of future climate using measurements more detailed than previously used. The tweaks reduce uncertainty in sea ice predictions by as much as 60 percent, ScienceNews reports. 

According to a paper published in The Cryosphere Discussions, The Arctic Ocean will go ice-free in the summer around 2052, nine years earlier than previously forecast.

In a warming climate, changes to sea ice thickness are expected to lead to significant implications for polar regions and beyond, the scientists explain. A reduction in sea ice thickness will likely open up the Arctic Ocean to economic diversification including new marine shipping routes and extraction of natural resources, as well as changes to the Arctic ecosystem and potential links to mid-latitude weather.

President Barack Obama on Monday announced an ambitious plan to drastically reduce carbon pollution from U.S. power plants in order to address climate change, which he called the greatest threat facing future generations. Obama’s proposal require states over the next 15 years to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent compared to 2005 levels, NBC News reported.