Last year was a record melt for all years they have kept track (1979 onward) and the Northwest passage was opened up! This year we are on pace for beating that record. We will find out at the end of September, when the ice starts refreezing again as temperatures cool down for Fall. Scientists predict that the North Pole will be ice free as soon as the Summer of 2013. This has not happened for 150,000 years and it is happening because of the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a result of humans burning fossil fuels. This may inconvenience a few polar bears, but the real problem for people is all the ice melting off of Greenland, which increases the ocean level. The ice melting in the arctic simply displaces itself from ice to water and then to ice again depending on the season.
The reason we know that we have a problem is that scientists have taken daily pictures and measured temperature and ice, and all of this is on the internet, where you can:
and it has an excellent faq that answers questions such as:
- What is the difference between the “North Pole” and the “Arctic”? Will the ice at the North Pole melt?
- Has the Arctic always had ice in summer?
- Is Arctic sea ice really declining?
- If Arctic sea ice is declining, why does your data show that this year has more ice than previous years?
- Do scientists study Antarctic sea ice? Why don’t I hear much about Antarctic sea ice—including the recent record maximum—from scientists or the media?
- What about wintertime Antarctic sea ice—is it increasing or decreasing?
- How do we know that human activities have caused global climate change?
- Are undersea volcanoes responsible for the decline in the Arctic sea ice?
- Do sunspots cause climate change?
- Do icebreakers contribute to climate change?
- Do hurricanes in the Atlantic break up Arctic sea ice?
- Once Arctic sea ice is broken up, does it melt faster?