Exclusive: No ice at the North PoleFrom a June 20 National Geographic article:
Polar scientists reveal dramatic new evidence of climate change
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Friday, 27 June 2008
It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.
The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.
"From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water," said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.
Arctic warming has become so dramatic that the North Pole may melt this summer, report scientists studying the effects of climate change in the field.But there's a big problem with this "alarming" story: it's not even rare for the North Pole to be ice free.
"We're actually projecting this year that the North Pole may be free of ice for the first time [in history]," David Barber, of the University of Manitoba, told National Geographic News aboard the C.C.G.S. Amundsen, a Canadian research icebreaker.
See the details here, and note that the New York Times ran (and then retracted) a similar story back in August 2000.
From a November 2000 Patrick Michaels article:
By August 29, the level of outrage the Times had incurred provoked a half-hearted retraction of sorts, on page D-3, where the paper admitted it misstated the true condition of polar ice, noting that about 10 percent of the Arctic Ocean is open in the summer and that those open areas do in fact sometimes extend to the Pole. McCarthy, the Times reported, “would not argue with critics who said that open water at the pole was not unprecedented.” How about the truth? Open water is common.
That’s apparent from even a cursory look at the U.N.’s own temperature data or from a study of climate history. Climatologists are pretty sure that polar regions were around 2°C warmer than they are today during the period from 4,000 to 7,000 years ago. That’s three millennia in which summer sea-ice was likely more scattered than it is today. The only ecological catastrophe ecologists might be able say resulted from this deplorable condition was the rise of human civilization.