Explorers: North Pole summers ice free in 10 years

By | October 15, 2009

Explorers North Pole summers ice free in 10 years

The North Pole will turn into an open sea during summer within a decade, according to data released Wednesday by a team of explorers who trekked through the Arctic for three months

The Catlin Arctic Survey team, led by explorer Pen Hadow, measured the thickness of the ice as it sledged and hiked through the northern part of the Beaufort Sea in the north Pole earlier this year during a research project. Their findings show that most of the ice in the region is first-year ice that is only around 1.8 meters (six feet) deep and will melt next summer. The region has traditionally contained, thicker multiyear ice which does not melt as rapidly.

“With a larger part of the region now first-year ice, it is clearly more vulnerable,” said Professor Peter Wadhams, part of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge which analyzed the data. “The area is now more likely to become open water each summer, bringing forward the potential date when the summer sea ice will be completely gone.”

Wadhams said the Catlin Arctic Survey data supports the new consensus that the Arctic will be ice-free in summer within 20 years, and that much of the decrease will happen within 10 years.

Martin Sommerkorn of the World Wildlife Fund said the Arctic sea holds a central position in the earth’s climate system. “Such a loss of Arctic sea ice cover has recently been assessed to set in motion powerful climate feedbacks which will have an impact far beyond the Arctic itself,” he said.

He added: “This could lead to flooding affecting one-quarter of the world’s population, substantial increases in greenhouse gas emissions from massive carbon pools and extreme global weather changes.”

Global warming has raised the stakes in the scramble for sovereignty in the Arctic because shrinking polar ice could someday open resource development and new shipping lanes. The rapid melting of ice has raised speculation that the Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans could one day become a regular shipping lane.

The results come as negotiators prepare to meet in Copenhagen in December to draft a global climate pact.

via Explorers: North Pole summers ice free in 10 years – Yahoo! News.

2 thoughts on “Explorers: North Pole summers ice free in 10 years

  1. Cole

    But where will Santa go? 🙁

    This just reminded me. Didn’t Russia a few years ago go in a submarine and put a flag under the north pole and claim the Arctic? What do you think? Should countries be allowed to claim the Arctic, or, more likely, Antarctica? And what about the Moon or Mars?

    1. Xeno Post author

      I agree with the Native American idea that it is absurd to say we can own land. Land owns us because we are so temporary in comparison. But as far as people claiming one territory or another, historically whoever gets there first and/or has the means to defend a location with law and/or force has the rightful claim. Same goes for the Moon or Mars. We can’t really “own” any land anywhere in the bigger sense, but we can claim land anywhere in the Universe as far as other humans are concerned. With this in mind, I now own several planets. One of them is populated with clones of celebrities created by obtaining DNA from hair samples. I’m not telling where it is.

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