The North Pole may possibly be ice free by summer

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

An azimuthal map of the North Pole

The National Snow and Ice Data Center based in Boulder, Colorado said that there will be a 50% chance that the already thin ice on the North Pole will melt away this September as a result of the on-going global warming.

The center's senior researcher Mark Serreze said that in September of 2007, ice on the north pole retreated to record levels, opening the Northwest Passage for the first time in shipping history.

Serreze added that every year, ice in the North pole has been thinning year after year. The scenario where the pole will be ice free will depend on this year's weather and climatic conditions.

The center observed that the last year's weather conditions in the north were sufficient to clear the lanes of the Northwest passage and for this year, the situation will be depending on what the weather will be.

He also assured the public that the lack of ice in that region should not concern everyone since it won't be bringing any immediate consequences. He said, "the North Pole is just another point in the globe, but it does have this symbolic meaning. There's supposed to be ice at the North Pole. The fact that we may not have any by the end of this summer could be quite a symbolic change."

The scenario of an ice-less Arctic has been seen as far back as five years ago but the rate of melting was not expected to happen in a matter of five years.

Serreze also corrected those saying that the melting of Arctic ice is just part of a "historic cycle."

He adds that as far back as 30 years ago, their earliest climate models have suggested that the very first sign of an impact from global warming would have been the melting of Arctic ice.

Their studies also reveal that the ice could return given conditions wherein the planet will cool down.