Given the dramatic decline in summer ice coverage in the Arctic in recent years, some researchers have feared we are approaching the end of summer ice in the Arctic. But a new study, examining ancient driftwood found along the shores of Greenland, argues in Science that in fact it was much warmer 5000-8000 years ago. This means that summer ice in the Arctic may be able to survive human-caused global warming, presuming we are able to get a handle on emissions sometime this century.
From the Vancouver Sun:
While the researchers say they expect global warming will eventually make the Arctic sea ice disappear, they say the dire warnings about its imminent demise have been overstated.
"The bad news is that there is a clear connection between temperature and the amount of sea ice," says lead author Svend Funder, at the University of Copenhagen, adding there is "no doubt" continued global warming will reduce Arctic summer sea ice.
"The good news is that even with a reduction to less than 50 per cent of the current amount of sea ice, the ice will not reach a point of no return," says Funder, who has headed several treks to the inhospitable north coast of Greenland to get a better read on how the ice waxes and wanes.
Satellite records showing how the ice grows and retreats only go back to early 1979 — and suggest 2011 could see another record ice loss.
It's not great news. We are continuing to lose ice rapidly in the Arctic, as this graph from the National Snow and Ice Data Center illustrates: