The Seasonal and Regional Transition to an Ice-Free Arctic
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionGeophysical Research Letters. 2021, 48 (1), e2020GL090825. 10.1029/2020GL090825
The Arctic sea ice cover is currently retreating and will continue its retreat in a warming world. However, the loss of sea ice is neither regionally nor seasonally uniform. Here, we present the first regional and seasonal assessment of future Arctic sea ice loss in CMIP6 models under low (SSP126) and high (SSP585) emission scenarios, thus spanning the range of future change. We find that Arctic sea ice loss—at present predominantly limited to the summer season—will under SSP585 take place in all regions and all months. The summer sea ice is lost in all the shelf seas regardless of emission scenario, whereas ice-free conditions in winter before the end of this century only occur in the Barents Sea. The seasonal transition to ice-free conditions is found to spread through the Atlantic and Pacific regions, with change starting in the Barents Sea and Chukchi Sea, respectively.