The North Pole will turn into an open sea during summer within a decade, according to data released Wednesday by a team of explorers who trekked through the Arctic for three months.
The Catlin Arctic Survey team, led by explorer Pen Hadow, measured the thickness of the ice as it sledged and hiked through the northern part of the Beaufort Sea earlier this year during a research project.
Their findings show that most of the ice in the region is first-year ice that is only around 1.8 metres deep and will melt next summer. The region has traditionally contained thicker multiyear ice, which does not melt as rapidly.
"With a larger part of the region now first-year ice, it is clearly more vulnerable," said Professor Peter Wadhams, part of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge, which analyzed the data.
"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."
Hat tip to my pal Blue Gal for the climate change blogswarm awareness - Baby needs new brake shoes.