Arctic Sea Ice Gone in Summer Within Five Years?
Seth Borenstein in Washington
December 12, 2007
An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer—a sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point.
One scientist even speculated that summer sea ice could be gone in five years.
“The Arctic is screaming,” said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government’s snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colorado.
This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.”
What happens in the Arctic has implications for the rest of the world. Faster melting there means eventual sea level rise and more immediate changes in winter weather because of less sea ice.
In the United States, a weakened Arctic blast moving south to collide with moist air from the Gulf of Mexico can mean less rain and snow in some areas, including the drought-stricken Southeast, said Michael MacCracken, a former federal climate scientist who now heads the nonprofit Climate Institute.
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