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Skating on thin ice - 'nuff said

by Tony Manwaring

This will be the first year in which there will probably be no summer ice in the North Pole

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.    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,   reported the Independent.

Peter Wadhams, Professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, who spoke at a Tomorrow's Company event earlier this year commented

Last summer was a record; only 4 million sq km of ice was left in September compared to the normal 8 million, and a huge area of the central Arctic, which has never been ice-free before, became blue ocean. This year, all the signs are that a greater retreat is in progress, which may for the first time make the North Pole part of an ice-free ocean. This is the biggest signal of climate change that has yet happened, and is visible from space – our blue planet is now blue right up to the North Pole, instead of having a white cap.

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