Andrew Revkin at the Times’ science blog, Dot Earth has a good post up with the facts (and great graphs) on the recent news about the North Pole losing its ice caps. He writes:
“it’s clear that, by the end of the 1990s, the veneer of ice on the Arctic Ocean had shifted to a far more tenuous state, with ever less thick, years-old ice like the floes I camped on when I went with the team setting up the annual North Pole Environmental Observatory. The animation above shows that the ice was flushed out, not melted.
Most of the seasoned Arctic ice experts I’ve canvassed for recent stories see the region exhibiting a mix of natural variability in the ice (like the flushing process) and a long-term trend toward less of it in summer, and more of it being fresh-made each season, and thus thin and easy to melt. Most also are convinced the change is now at least partly driven by human-caused global warming.
Their various projections are laid out in monthly Sea Ice Outlook reports. Right now the odds are essentially even on a 2008 match for the dramatic ice loss last year.”