Arctic ice cap shrank sharply this summer

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Arctic Ice Cap, which floats on the Arctic Ocean, shrank this summer to what experts believe to be its smallest size in a century. Experts in climate modeling feel this is most likely a consequence of greenhouse gas emissions and will profoundly transform the Arctic later this century.

Dr. Ted Scambos and Dr. Mark Serreze, of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado said the change is becoming self-sustaining due to positive feedback effects. Dr. Serreze, said "With all that dark open water, you start to see an increase in Arctic Ocean heat storage. Come autumn and winter that makes it a lot harder to grow ice, and the next spring you're left with less and thinner ice. And it's easier to lose even more the next year."

Dr. Scambos said "The consecutive record-low extents make it pretty certain a long-term decline is underway."

The Little Ice Age ended a century ago.