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. leeintulsa

    I remember the 70s, but all i cared about then was cub scouts and GI Joe with the kung fu grip lol

    August 11, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. john

    I never was in cub scouts. Did have to watch the news every night, I suppose that's why I remember about that the global cooling theory they were claiming was coming on back then.

    August 11, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. john

    Nothing against the cub scouts mind you, I lived in the country and my father had to work away a lot so I didn't have the opportunity.

    August 11, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. john

    I don't remember GI Joe with the Kung fu grip, I was more into Hong Kong Fuey and Battlestar Galactic(the original).

    August 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fernace

    @ john, thanks for re-spelling my name correctly, but I get a bit of condesention from your post, disagreeing with my stance! I have an education from 2 nations & speak 3 languages fluently! Yes, I know all about the oxygen providing fauna of this planet & I'm also familiar with what the pyroclastic ashflow can do to the air quality! Historically it has been known to change weather patterns due to the smoke & ash blocking out the sun! We humans have for the last 100 or so years, continuously been putting all sorts of poisonous gases into the atmosphere, in particular carbon dioxide, to the point that it has eaten a large hole in our protective ozone layer! Or do you disagree with that too? I feel that it's a good idea to at least listen to scientists with an open mind! I don't know what will happen, but I'd rather be prepared than thinking I know it all & scientists are full of BS! Just my oppinion!! Ps. The planet wont be wiped out, we will & to me that might be worth trying to prevent

    August 12, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  6. Allen

    NEWS FLASH!! New climate cartoons prove old climate cartoons cartoonishly exaggerated!'s all cartoon science to me. The British MET with over 200,000,000 budget and a 50,000,000 supercomputer and a 1500 man staff has been predicting warm winters based on climate cartoons for years and getting their rear end kicked by Piers Corbyn who believes it's the big yellow thing in the sky and has a laptop. Winter 2010 MET predicts unseasonably warm winter due to climate change, Corbyn said not only would it be very cold, it would be a record setting winter. Guess who got that one right AND who has gotten it right for YEARS! Ok people, co2 is a PRODUCT of warming not a leading indicator. It's the big yellow thing in the sky people, get over it. ICE HUGGERS, stop hugging the'll only get cold and wet while Mashnich and Bashkirtsev count their 10,000. Stop treating the ice age like it was a dying relative.

    August 12, 2011 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. chillipepper

    Through history the weather always went through climate changes. Can you say ICE AGE! There are places eons ago that were lush that now are arid dry deserts and vice versa. Gore is either a numbskull or is just has a plan of control for big brother.Also to take peoples money because of what mother nature is doing that we have no control over. Don't be so gulible and believe what these evil men are telling you, so they can control you and get trillons of dollars out of the public so they can live high on the hog.

    August 12, 2011 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
    • kossack

      "Through history the weather always went through climate changes. Can you say ICE AGE! "

      -The difference between the natural variations that brought us the ice age is that this warming event is driven to a large degree by human activities. We may disagree on the cause of climate change, but the eventuality of rising sea levels flooding large sections of Florida, as well as major coastal cities should be getting some attention. Major re-insurers, Dept. of Defense, and the CIA ALL take the threat seriously, yet our elected representatives don't. Their fossil fuel industry campaign contributors don't have anything to do with any of that, do they?

      August 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark L.

    Hey....I know.....Let's send Michelle Bachmann & Sarah Palin off to the Arctic region to save the Polar Bears...SERIOUSLY PEOPLE – One's from AK & the other from MN....They would be perfect candidates to the live and comfort the Polar Bears....LMAO...

    August 12, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Naomi

    "We really don't know; we just got plenty speculations" would be more honest answer from decent scientists on the Arctic ice as well as on the origin of life and the universe.

    August 12, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • kossack

      Speculation? About what specifically?

      August 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Calling Your Bluff

    @fernace: The hole in the ozone layer was caused by excessive chlorofluorocarbons. I am in school for biochemistry and that molecule is made from chlorine fluorine and carbon. Carbon dioxide is carbon and oxygen. You should get a refund from whatever school you went to. Zing! We agree that the earth should stay in it's natural chemical balance and whatever CO2 humans put into the air we should offset by planting more trees that are the natural filters. We also need to offset any trees we cut down for developed land. The warming effect from having too much CO2 in the atmosphere can be tested easily by having two empty clear plastic bottles. Fill one with our air and the other with CO2. Leave them outside for an hour in the sun and the temperature in the CO2 bottle will be significantly higher. It's a simple test that anyone can do.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ancient Texan

    Any scientist that points out that there is no actual proof of man made global warming will draw Al Gore's ire. He goes ballistic at onyone who dissents with his money making theories. I'll go with the 32,000 scientists that agree that Gores opinion is greatly overblown.

    August 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. john

    @Kossak: sea levels were actually much higher during the Roman era and throughout the fourteen hundreds than they are now. I guess they were all running around in Saturn's and SUV's back then. Oh almost forgot, the oceans are also cooler than they were during those time periods. Global warming is not science it's only a theory and a poorly tested theory at that.

    August 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. john

    Should've qualified that statement, meant man made global warming as we all know the earth's climate changes constantly.

    August 12, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |

    YES , WE CAN...YES , WE CAN...WE WILL WIN IN WAR ON TERROR (30 whities or what are terrorists will never come back alive...thank you lord....aaamen).

    What do you mean tragedy! It was just a birthday present for planet apes president !!! That's all ! Feels great to flip hamburgers and hip hop atop of good news...makes you feel vibrant and energized !!!

    ARIZONA = UTOYA = GOVERNMENT‘S "AFTERLIFE" CASH & $$ FLASH MOB (there was no shooting in Utoya or Arizona, but instead tear gas and on faces of multiculturalism maniacs while calling you a terrorists) !!! or


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    Don't worry O(s)bama, you have just saved USA what is lots of Dollars in your DEBT DEALS(DEAD AND ILL) as those best of America or Navy Seals would also grew older and then you already know how it goes !!!

    August 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
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