Isn’t it ironic that the International Polar Year falls on the year with the least Arctic ice cover? The North Pole is now literally on thin ice. Scientists are predicting a seasonally ice free Arctic by 2030. The image above illustrates the changing extent of Arctic sea ice over the last fifty years, from 1953 to 2005. Median Arctic ice cover has dropped from 8 million sq km to less than 6 million sq km over the last 20 years, down to nearly 4 million sq km since 2004.
The graphic is lifted from an article by J. Stroeve et al called “Arctic sea ice plummets in 2007″ in the weekly newsletter Earth and Ocean Science (EOS) Transactions from the American Geophysical Union. The article is summarized above in the post above called “Ice Free Arctic by year 2030.” As I’ve said before, AGU membership is one of the best deals in ocean sciences. A student membership costs ~$25, and gets you a weekly newsletter full of interesting Earth stories like these.