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News item: Arctic Loses Multiyear Ice

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0 comments   Add a comment   Contributor: krobinson (Nov-4-2009)
Optimism: 2 Category: Global Warming

Broken Arctic sea ice as seen from a window in from a U.S. Coast Guard C130 flight over the Arctic Ocean September 30, 2009The normal covering of multiyear ice (ice that is present year-round for more than one year) in the Arctic Ocean has vanished, opening up possible summer shipping routes over the top of the world.

Ice in the North Pole is melting extremely fast, more quickly even than the rest of the globe, partly because of what is known as the albedo feedback effect: essentially, the loss of reflective ice creates open water that absorbs the sun's rays rather than reflecting them, which further warms the water.

The Arctic's multiyear ice used to be found in large sheets of up to 80 meters thick, creating an impenetrable barrier for ships. Melting caused by global warming has now created hundreds of miles of "rotten ice", which is less sound and melts much faster than regular ice.

Some experts believe that by the summer of 2030, the Arctic may be seasonally ice-free.

See original news item: Reuters, Oct-29-2009  
Related PlanetThoughts.org reading:
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  Arctic Sea Ice Enters The Spring Melt Season (Apr-23-2012)
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About contributor krobinson (Kate Robinson)

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