Future Arctic ice loss may be reversible

By on April 29, 2015

Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have resolved discrepancies between climate and process models to find that losses of Arctic sea ice may be reversible, according to a release from the University of California, San Diego. The finding puts to rest a belief that Arctic sea ice would be permanently lost if the Earth warmed too much.

Instead, researchers say, the loss of Arctic sea ice can be reversed if climate change takes it too far. The way to bring it back is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which, when low enough, will make conditions right for the ice to re-form.

In the study, researchers identified two key physical processes involved in the formation of sea ice. One was the movement of heat from the tropics to the poles and the other is related to seasonal changes. Older models had not included those factors, which is why they erroneously identified a point at which the ice would not come back.

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