Arctic Summer Sea Ice Gone by 2020?

NWF   |   April 27, 2007

A recent article “Global Warming Could Be Worse Than Thought” spotlighted findings from a British Royal Navy submarine, the HMS Tireless, that Arctic summer sea ice could be completely gone as early as the summer of 2020.  This is 20 years earlier than has been predicted up until this point. 

This finding is particularly troublesome because sea ice reflects 90% of the sunlight that hits it.  Darker ocean water, on the other hand, absorbs 80% of the sunlight that hits it.  If reflective sea ice is replaced with heat-absorbing ocean water in the Arctic, one of the key cooling mechanisms of our planet will be disrupted which will only accelerate climate change. 

This is called a positive feedback loop, and it’s quite negative.  By acting now we can still avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change and create a bright energy future.  For wildlife, for our children’s future, for this beautiful planet, let’s continue speaking out.  We can do this, but we need to act now.

Published: April 27, 2007