North Pole ‘could be ice free in 2008’

Scientists are preparing for the possibility that Arctic ice will reach record lows during the summer melting season this year, with the North Pole becoming nothing more than a vast expanse of water, the New Scientist reports.

In September 2007, Arctic sea ice reached a record low, opening up the fabled northwest passage that runs from Greenland to Alaska.

 "The set-up for this summer is disturbing," Mark Serreze, of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), was reported as saying. A
number of factors have this year led to most of the Arctic ice being thin and vulnerable as it enters its summer melting season, he said.

Satellite images show that most of the Arctic ice at the moment is thin, young ice that has only been around since last autumn, the report said. Thin ice is far more vulnerable than thick ice that has piled up over several years.

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