An ice-free Arctic ocean in the summer within 10 years? It’s possible

• August 13, 2012
NASA climate researchers inspecting Arctic sea ice

Creative Commons: NASA Goddard, 2010

Arctic sea ice is melting at a pace so much faster than once thought that the latest projections say it might disappear by as soon as 2022, according to measurements from the European Space Agency.

An analysis from the CryoSat-2 probe, launched two years ago as a purpose-built satellite for studying the thickness of Arctic ice, suggests that 900 cubic kilometres of ice have disappeared every year since 2004.

At such a dramatic rate, scientists say it’s possible in 10 years that the Arctic could be ice-free for at least a day.

“Very soon we may experience the iconic moment when, one day in the summer, we look at satellite images and see no sea ice coverage in the Arctic, just open water,” Dr. Seymour Laxon, with London’s Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, told The Guardian newspaper.

The data would mean that the thinning of Arctic ice is progressing 50 per cent faster than many polar scientists had previously predicted, suggesting that global warming and rising greenhouse gases could be contributing factors.

Read more: CBC News >>


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