Drifting ice in the Arctic could completely disappear during the summer season in the second half of the century, a Russian scientist said on Wednesday.
"Ice may become purely seasonal not by the end of the century, as previously thought, but earlier, much earlier," Vladimir Kattsov, director of the Voyeikov Chief Geophysical Observatory, said at the international forum, The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue.
This year Arctic ice has melted to the third lowest area in history, he recalled. An all-time low ice area was recorded in September 2007.
"We do not completely understand what mechanisms lie behind these processes," he said.
The Arctic is not only changing intensively under the impact of climate change but could also become a factor in climate processes, Kattsov said.
"It is not only an object or indicator, but an active factor."
The forum, running September 22-23, is hosted by the Russian Geographic Society. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who heads the RGS Board of Trustees, is expected to attend.
RIA Novosti is the official media partner of the forum.
MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti)