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AARI director: Ice amounts in Arctic in summer will diminish by mid-21st century

Over recent 40-50 years, we can see the dramatic changes in the ice cover of the Arctic Ocean seas, Director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute Alexander Makarov noted

ST. PETERSBURG, June 20. /TASS/. The amount of ice in summer seasons in the Arctic will diminish by the mid-21st century, which will inevitably affect the navigation there. At the same time, scientists do not expect absolutely ice-free periods in the Arctic Ocean in winter seasons, Director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI, St. Petersburg) Alexander Makarov told TASS at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

"The climate in the Arctic is changing. Over recent 40-50 years, we can see the dramatic changes in the ice cover of the Arctic Ocean seas. Every decade, we register ice area reductions by about 13.5%. In summer, the ice area has shrunk by about 2.7 million square kilometers - that’s about the area of Greenland. In winter, the area has diminished by 700,000 square kilometers. At the same time, we can see the changed ice thickness - in the Arctic Ocean’s central part, the average thickness of sea ice has dropped by almost three times. By the middle of the 21st century, the amount of ice in the Arctic in summer is likely to decrease, but in winter 100% of ice will remain," the research institute’s director told TASS.

Regarding further development of the ice situation in the Arctic in the second half of the 21st century, scientists see two main scenarios. According to the first scenario, in the 2050s-2070s, the climate will stabilize and the temperature will drop, thus the Arctic will return to approximately the conditions of the early 21st century. If this does not happen, then, according to the second scenario, the ice in the Arctic will continue to diminish.

According to the scientist, the ice decrease in the Arctic Ocean will cause additional risks for the navigation - scientists forecast the growth of dangerous ice phenomena, like, for example, icebergs. In order to reduce the navigation risks in the Arctic Ocean, it is necessary to pay special attention to regular forecasts that will clarify the ice situation so that ship owners could make most effective decisions, the scientist stressed.

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum organized by the Roscongress Foundation took place on June 15 through to 18. In 2022, the forum was dubbed: ‘New Opportunities in a New World’. A number of other events took place beyond the business program. Among them were the SME Forum, the Creative Business Forum, the Drug Security Forum, the SPIEF Junior Dialogue, and SPIEF Sport Week. TASS was the event’s official photo hosting agency and information partner.