The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) compiled by 250 scientists also has dire predictions for polar species.

Animals such as the polar bear, reindeer and the arctic fox could be pushed to the brink of extinction over the next 100 years as the ice cap continues to recede at an accelerated rate.

The report, funded jointly by the Arctic Council, made up of the United States, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Finland, estimates that arctic temperatures could jump by between 4 and 7 degrees centigrade by the end of the century.

Siberia and Alaska have already recorded temperature increases of 2 – 3 degrees since the 1950s.

Many of the four million people living in the Artic are now suffering the impact of thawing permafrost.

Buildings from Russia to Canada have been demolished due to subsidence problems which also destabilise oil pipelines, roads and airports.

Indigenous Inuit hunters and Sami reindeer herders are complaining they can no longer predict weather patterns and snowfalls, amid fears that Arctic communities face a higher risk of developing skin cancers.

Thinning ice has also made the hunting of dwindling seal and whale populations more hazardous.

Melting glaciers may also see the complete disappearance of summertime sea ice around the North Pole by 2100 and cause global sea levels to rise by 10 centimetres.

“Polar bears are unlikely to survive as a species if there is an almost complete loss of summer sea-ice cover,” the report said.

Artic ice shelves have so far shrunk by 15 – 20 percent in the past 30 years.

The ACIA, which is the most comprehensive survey of its kind to be conducted, lays much of the blame for climate warming on the gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels in cars, factories and power plants.

Paradoxically, while the rapid warming of the Artic could spell the doom of many threatened species endemic to the region, other species are expected to benefit from the drastic climate change.

In another twist, the melting ice could make areas of untapped oil and natural gas reserves accessible to drilling, making the main culprit of global warming, fossil fuels, more readily available.

The report did not list any specific recommendations but vice president of the ACIA, Paal Perstrud, said the document implicitly calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists will meet in Iceland this week to discuss the ACIA’s findings, with the foreign ministers of the eight Arctic Council nations due to arrive in Reykjavik on November 24 to discuss the political ramifications of the report.