LONDON: The Arctic region may be free of sea ice for the first time in more than 100,000 years, according to an expert from the University of Cambridge.
The claim is based on provisional satellite data of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre that reportedly shows there was just over 11.1 million square kilometres of sea ice in the region on June 1 this year — a significant decrease from the average for the last 30 years — 12.7 million square kilometres.
Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge, told ‘The Independent’ online: “My prediction remains that the Arctic ice may well disappear, that is, have an area of less than one million square kilometres for September of this year.”
“Even if the ice doesn’t completely disappear, it is very likely that this will be a record low year. I’m convinced it will be less than 3.4 million square kilometres (the current record low).”
“I think there’s a reasonable chance it could get down to a million this year and if it doesn’t do it this year, it will do it next year. Ice free means the central part of the Arctic and the North Pole is ice free,” he said.
It is believed the Arctic was last clear of ice about 100,000 to 120,000 years ago, the news website reported.
Rapid warming of the polar region has been linked to extreme weather events such as “bomb cyclones”, flooding in the UK and out-of-season tornadoes in the United States.