Arctic could face seasonally ice-free conditions: Study PTI 30 December 2009, 12:58pm ISTText Size:|Topics:arctic US Geological Survey WASHINGTON: US Geological Survey (USGS) has warned that the Arctic could face seasonally ice-free conditions and much warmer temperatures in the Twitter Facebook Share Email Print Save Comment future which may lead to intensified storms and increased winter precipitation. The USGS scientists have found evidence that the Arctic Ocean and Nordic Seas were too warm to support summer sea ice during the mid-Pliocene period, over three million years ago, when temperatures were similar to those projected for the end of this century. They said the warm period is also used as an analog to understand future conditions. "In looking back 3 million years, we see a very different pattern of heat distribution than today with much warmer waters in the high latitudes," said USGS scientist Marci Robinson. Robinson said, "The lack of summer sea ice during the mid-Pliocene suggests that the record-setting melting of Arctic sea ice over the past few years could be an early warning of more significant changes to come". Loss of sea ice could have varied and extensive consequences, such as contributions to continued Arctic warming, accelerated coastal erosion due to increased wave activity, impacts to large predators like polar bears and seals that depend on sea ice cover, the USGS website said.