The Arctic Ice is Getting Younger
Uh oh. Arctic ice to vanish in summer.
LONDON, England (CNN) — New data released Thursday suggests that the Arctic Ocean will be “largely ice free” during summer within a decade.
The report, complied by the UK-based Catlin Arctic Survey and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is the latest research into ice thickness in the Arctic.
Researchers predict that within 20 years ice cover will be completely gone during the warmer months.
The expedition, which was completed in May, was led by UK explorer Pen Hadow. He and his team collected data by manually drilling into the ice and noting its thickness along a 450-kilometer route across the northern part of the Beaufort Sea. They found that the area surveyed was comprised almost exclusively of first year ice.
Scientists think this is significant because traditionally the region has been made up of much older, thicker ice.
“Discovering this area of younger ice provides another body of information that supports the rapidly emerging scientific consensus that it’s going to be nearer 10 years from now that we will see roughly 80-85 percent free waters in the Arctic Ocean,” Hadow told CNN.
Measurements taken by Hadow and his team report that the ice-floes were on average 1.8 meters thick — which, according to scientists, is too thin to survive next summer’s ice melt.
Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the UK’s University of Cambridge said: “With a large part of the region now first year ice, it is clearly more vulnerable. 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.”