Polar Meltdown Threatened This Summer

North Pole may be ice free for the first time in human history
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2008 6:24 AM CDT
Polar Meltdown Threatened This Summer
A research ship in the Arctic ocean off Barrow, Alaska. Researchers say the North Pole itself could be free of ice for the first time this summer.   (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Prentice Danner)

The North Pole may become free of ice this summer for the first time in human history. Thick Arctic sea ice that normally covers the polar region has been replaced by ice that formed only in the last year and is susceptible to seasonal melting, reports the Independent. It's a disturbing, symbolic landmark in global warming, scientists warn.

"For the first time that I am aware of, the North Pole is covered with extensive first-year ice—ice that formed last autumn and winter," said an expert with the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado. "I'd say it's even odds whether the North Pole melts out." (More North Pole stories.)

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