What do we know about the future of Arctic sea-ice loss?

Published: 2018
Product type: Science Brief
Categories: Sea Ice

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The rapid loss of floating Arctic sea ice is striking in its impact on global climate.

Why it matters

Snow-covered sea ice is one of the most re.lective natural materials on Earth. As the area covered by sea ice dwindles, more sunlight is absorbed by the Arctic Ocean instead of being re.lected back to space. The enhanced surface warming melts even more ice, which further reduces the re.lectivity: a self-perpetuating cycle1. As such, sea ice loss has strongly contributed to accelerated warming in the Arctic, where temperatures are increasing at two to three times the rate of the globe as a whole.