A prominent climate change scientist has been forced to backtrack on his prediction that the Arctic would be free of sea ice by September this year – after data showed there is more now than four years ago.
Professor Peter Wadhams, from the University of Cambridge, predicted in 2012 that the Arctic would be ice-free by September this year.
However, figures show there were 1.6 million square miles of sea ice last month – which is actually 20 percent more than the figure recorded in 2012.
Professor Wadhams told The Telegraph that he still expected the disappearance of Arctic sea ice in ‘a very small number of years’, but admitted it had not happened as quickly as he had forecast.
He said: ‘My view is that the trend of summer sea ice volume is relentlessly downward, such that the volume (and thus area) will come to a low value very soon – in a very small number of years.
‘This is to be contrasted with some of the bizarre predictions made by computer modellers, who have the summer sea ice remaining until late this century, which is quite impossible.’
However, Professor Wadhams has been criticised by other scientists for making ‘dramatic’ predictions that are ‘incorrect’.
Dr. Ed Hawkins, from the University of Reading, wrote on the blog Climate Lab Book: ‘There are very serious risks from continued climatic changes and a melting Arctic but we do not serve the public and policy-makers well by exaggerating those risks.
‘We will soon see an ice-free summer in the Arctic but there is a real danger of “crying wolf” and that does not help anyone.’
In September, figures from The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado showed there were 1.6 million square miles (4.14 million square kilometers) of Arctic sea ice at its summer low point.