Every year, the Arctic ice reaches its thinnest point in September.
Despite numerous concerted efforts and international discussions, climate change has already begun to have a terrible impact on the ecosystem.
No matter what we do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean may be extinct by the 2030s, according to a new scientific study.
The study that was published in the journal Nature Communications found that even capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris climate treaty will not prevent the north pole's vast expanse of floating ice from melting away.
"It is too late to still protect the Arctic summer sea ice as a landscape and as a habitat," co-author Dirk Notz, a professor at the University of Hamburg's Institute of Oceanography, said.
"We are very quickly about to lose the Arctic summer sea-ice cover, basically independent of what we are doing. We've been waiting too long now to do something about climate change to still protect the remaining ice," Professor Notz was quoted as saying by The New York Times.
"This will be the first major component of our climate system that we lose because of our emission of greenhouse gases."
Decreased ice cover has serious impacts over time on weather, people, and ecosystems-not just within the region, but globally.
"It can accelerate global warming by melting permafrost laden with greenhouse gases and sea level rise by melting the Greenland ice sheet," lead author Seung-Ki Min, a researcher at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea, said.
Scientists describe the Arctic Ocean as "ice-free" if the area covered by ice is less than one million square kilometres, or about seven percent of the ocean's total area.
Sea ice in Antarctica, meanwhile, dropped to 1.92 million square kilometres in February, the lowest level on record and almost one million square kilometres below the 1991-2020 mean.
(With inputs from AFP)