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Scientists predict arctic could be free of sea ice in summer by 2050

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Arctic iceTwo U.S. scientists say it's not a question of "if" there will be nearly ice-free summers in the arctic but "when," and sooner than many think.

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration scientists James Overland and Muyin Wang say several different methods for predicting when the arctic will be nearly ice free in the summer show it could happen before 2050 and possibly within the next decade or two.

"Rapid arctic sea ice loss is probably the most visible indicator of global climate change; it leads to shifts in ecosystems and economic access, and potentially impacts weather throughout the northern hemisphere," Overland said in a NOAA release Friday.

"Early loss of arctic sea ice gives immediacy to the issue of climate change," he said.

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