Scientists: Arctic ice may not go away so quickly
A polar bear sits on sea ice in the Canadian Arctic.
August 11th, 2011
01:05 PM ET

Scientists: Arctic ice may not go away so quickly

Earth's Arctic ice is disappearing. In fact, the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center told CNN last week that, within three decades, the top of the world would be practically ice free during the summer.

This week scientists are saying, not so fast. You might want to plan for that ice-free Arctic Ocean summer sail about 50 or 60 years from now.

That's because new computer models run by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, show the ice cap could just as easily expand as contract in periods of up to 10 years at a time.

“One of the results that surprised us all was the number of computer simulations that indicated a temporary halt to the loss of the ice,” NCAR scientist Jennifer Kay, the lead author of a new study on the Arctic ice, said in a news release.

Climate variables such as shifting wind patterns could temporarily reverse ice loss, Kay said.

“The computer simulations suggest that we could see a 10-year period of stable ice or even an increase in the extent of the ice.  Even though the observed ice loss has accelerated over the last decade, the fate of sea ice over the next decade depends not only on human activity but also on climate variability that cannot be predicted,” Kay said.

But she said the overall trend is clear.

“When you start looking at longer-term trends, 50 or 60 years, there’s no escaping the loss of ice in the summer,” Kay said.

The latest research appears in this week's Geophysical Research Letters.

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Filed under: Climate change • Environment
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Chico

    >>>We're<<< brainless. Kind of hard to insult someone when I misspell something!

    August 11, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. fernace

    Yes, leeintulsa, I agree with all you say! Unfortunately there are people(like john) who wont agree to anything! They are the 1ce who'll be slowing the adaptation process down! I'm on the "prepare" page with you, dude! Hey, banasy (the patented 1, cute & necessary in these trollfilled days:) )@ Mack, I'm not afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, but will not build on sand! Not by the hair(I pluck) on my chinny chin chin!! Lol!

    August 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. john

    Didn't imply that you were brainless, at least I don't recall ever writing hey everyone Chico's brainless. Only said that people who mindlessly follow what some scientist, or group of scientist in this case, claims without studying the facts or climate change throughout Earth's history is brainless. BTW I'm typing on a blackberry and it doesn't always show me what I've written earlier hence the of from.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    @fernace:
    So glad you pluck the hair on your chinny chin chin!
    Personal upkeep is sooooo important!

    August 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. john

    @frenace: There always has been climate change and always will be climate change no matter what we do. There are innumerable reasons for climate change. One is the fact that the earth rotates on an elliptical orbit which means we're closer to the sun sometimes. Another is the fact that the sun has solar flares which do reach earth and cause temperatures to be warmer during those times. The earth's poles are also constantly shifting, eventually(hundreds of millions of years from now) the North Pole will become the South Pole when that happens the earth's climate will shift dramatically. Do you know that one volcanic eruption puts out more carbon dioxide than all the automobiles humans have ever driven? Do you also know that trees breathe carbon dioxide and that without it they couldn't survive, btw without trees and grass the earth's temperature would skyrocket and we wouldn't have oxygen to breathe. Now I know what your response is going to be, that carbon dioxide from vehicles is worse than from volcanoes but there's no evidence at all to support that.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. john

    @Fernace: Sorry about typing your name wrong sometimes I just type too fast on this small pad and get the letters backwards from what I intend to.

    August 11, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chico

    "come on grow a brain already."
    This implies you think the people reading your posts are brainless, if they disagree with your version of what is happening.

    August 11, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. john

    @ Chico: I guess you are stupid since you're denying that there always has been climate change.

    August 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. john

    Go back to fourth grade and learn about the jurassic period, the ice age, there was a totally different climate during both periods, we're also in a different climate than both those periods and no there weren't any cars back then that caused the climate to change. As I stated earlier even if we could get rid of all carbon dioxide all that would accomplish would be the destruction of all vegetation on the planet. Without vegetation we die. I don't disagree with the theory of climate change only the cause, think and reason don't just go along with what some professor or teacher taught you in school.

    August 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    @john:
    Now, don't jump down my throat, but I didn't see Chico deny there was a climate change; he just was calling you out on a percieved insult, intended or not.
    Let's play nice in the sandbox together, ok?
    Also, I feel your pain concerning a blackberry.
    Mine gives me nothing but grief!

    August 11, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. john

    @banasy: to which I apologized for the perceived insult from the start but he went right to insulting me and continued to do so. Yes blackberry's can be a pain sometimes.

    August 11, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. leeintulsa

    Wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing. I don't *know* that humans cause climate change. I don't *know* that they don't.

    I prefer to believe anything is possible, and i prefer to err on the side of caution.

    Why some people think some scientists, such as those who say what it was like a million years ago, are spot on, while other scientists, who say what it will be like a million years from now, are nuts, is beyond me..

    I *do* know most politicians and radio show hosts aren't scientists at all, yet some people believe everything they say.. What's up with that?

    August 11, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. john

    @banasy: I'm not one to start a fight but I'm not one to back down from a fight either, I'm kind of like Wyatt Earp that way. In fact I remember some years ago a man tried to rob me and I grabbed his arm. To which he said don't mess with me I have a gun in my car. After laughing at him I prepared to give him the b!tch slap of a lifetime unfortunately however he jumped in his car a sped off before I could properly school him in the ways of the world.

    August 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. leeintulsa

    @john: while we're being condescending, you do realize that people weren't here, doing what we do, during the jurassic period, right? Our technologies and their affect on the planet are totally absent from the fossil record, you get that, right?

    Your whole premise is based on data that doesn't include us and the things we do.

    You can't see how, obviously, with new variables, the past, and what happened then, doesn't really mean anything?

    Get your brain out of the past, and realize that like me, like banasy, like fernace, like socrates, like *everyone*, you know nothing. One little variable can change everything. Ask carbon dioxide about carbon monoxide, and see if it ain't so.

    August 11, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. john

    @banasy: meant got in his car and sped off. Think I might try the HTC phone on my next contract as this one always posts something different from what I've typed.

    August 11, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
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