Added by David Sandercock on December 21, 2010
There is no temperature threshold beyond which the Arctic ice cap will be pushed into an inevitable melting process, says a recently published report.
The study, published in the British science journal Nature, shows that the melting of the Arctic ice cap is not as previously thought an inevitable result once a certain “tipping point” temperature has been reached.
Over the last 30 years, the northern polar cap has shrunk between 15 and 20 per cent, raising concerns that a warming climate could cause it to completely disappear during summer months by the end of the century.
The recent study used computer models to calculate ice loss over the next two decades, which showed that if greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced during this period, the result would be an initial phase of rapid ice loss, followed by stability and eventually partial recovery.
Cecilia Blitz, study co-author and University of Washington professor, said the finding “offers a very promising, hopeful message,” and “… an incentive for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.”
The study offers hope for polar bears, who are already suffering the results of a shrinking polar cap which has shortened their hunting season and led to them to being listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2008.