Water Week

EWN Publishing

Arctic ice cap collapses; area twice as big as Britain gone in one week alone: north­west passage fully navigable

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

The Arctic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented rate this north­ern summer and levels of sea ice in the region now stand at a record low, scientists said yesterday. Experts said they were “stunned” by the loss of ice, with an area almost twice as big as Britain disappearing in the last week alone. So much ice has melted this northern summer that the north­west passage across the top of Canada is fully navigable, and observers say the north-east pass­age along Russia’s Arctic coast could open later this month, reported The Canberra Times, (6/9/2007, p.15).

Summer Arctic free of ice by 2030: If the increased rate of melting continues, the summertime Arctic could be totally free of ice by 2030. The figures were released by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre at Colorado University in Denver. An Arctic specialist at the uni­versity, Mark Serreze, said, “It’s amazing. It’s simply fallen off a cliff and we’re still losing ice.”

Lost a third of its ice in 30 years:The Arctic has now lost about a third of its ice since satellite measurements began 30 years ago, and the rate of loss has accelerated sharply since 2002. Dr Serreze said, “If you asked me a couple of years ago when the Arctic could lose all of its ice, then I would have said 2100, or 2070 maybe. But now I think that 2030 is a reasonable estimate. ” The new figures show that sea ice extent is currently down to 4.4 million sqkm and still falling. The previous record low was 5.3 million sqkm in 2005. From 1979 to 2000 the average sea ice extent was 7.7 million sqkm.

The Canberra Times, 6/9/2007, p. 15

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