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Ice, Ice Fading


Thinking about the North Pole typically conjures up images of Santa Claus, reindeer, snow, and ice—lots and lots of ice. That image may be about to change. Just in time to stress you out for the weekend, even more alarming news about the catastrophic effects of global warming:

Scientists believe that for the first time ever, the North Pole may experience a completely ice-free summer this year. While some sea ice usually melts during the summer and then reforms during the Arctic winter, it hasn’t ever disappeared entirely. But satellite data shows that there is currently just a thin layer of ice—and that it’s melting at an unprecedented rate. Depending on weather conditions, it could fade away completely.

From an article in The Independent:

The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic—and worrying—examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

 

“From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water,” said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

 

Seasoned polar scientists believe the chances of a totally ice-free North Pole this summer are greater than 50:50 because the normally thick ice formed over many years at the Pole has been blown away and replaced by huge swathes of thinner ice formed over a single year.

 
The article also added that if the sea ice does disappear, it raises the prospect of extracting oil and minerals from the ground that were formerly inaccessible because of the thick ice. Global warming and pollution—what a combination!

Hopefully we haven’t spoiled your weekend with this startling news. But at least you’re not Santa—his whole summer seems to be blown.