The pronounced character of the 60-year cycle in air temperature variations in the Arctic (Figures 4.1 and 4.2) provides a basis for a long-term forecast of climate change in the Arctic for the coming decades. The period of dominant positive air temperature anomalies began with the first Arctic warming from 1922 to 1954, followed by a cold period from 1955 to 1980. The last stable warming period began in the mid 1980s and continues today with a maximum displayed in the end of twentieth—beginning of twenty-first centuries. The amplitude of 0.6°C and the phase from Figure 6.1 can be used to forecast the future. Based on these estimates, it can be expected that after the first decade of the twenty-first century, the Arctic background temperature will start to decrease and reach a minimum by 2030-2035, after which we should expect a transition to the next warming event (Figure 6.1).
A forecast for possible twenty-first century changes in Arctic ice extent based on natural cyclic changes is shown in Figure 6.2. This forecast takes into account the main components of our derived long-term variability in twentieth-century ice extent:
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