Where will he jump next?
The Arctic Sea ice is now 18 percent smaller than previous record. Expert predicts summer ice to disappear within four years. Urgent measures to reduce CO2 emissions must come.
The future of the world’s largest predator is highly uncertain. Polar bears totally depend on sea ice for hunting seals. No ice – no food, no food – no future.
Arctic sea ice cover melted to its minimum extent for the year on September 16. It was then 3,51 million square kilometers, the lowest summer minimum extent ever recorded by satellites, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado. The previous record was set in 2007, when the extent of the sea ice was 4,17 million square kilometers.
For the first time ever, both the Northeast Passage (Northern Sea Route) and the Northwest Passage were open for ice-free shipping.
“The strong late season decline is indicative of how thin the ice cover is,” says Walt Meier, scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. “Ice has to be quite thin to continue melting away as the sun goes down and fall approaches.”
Arctic sea ice has long been recognized as a sensitive climate indicator. Nowhere on earth is the drama of climate changes more visible than in the Arctic during the summer. The question many scientists now are asking is “Maybe it is too late; the Arctic summer sea ice will be gone before urgent measures are taken to reduce man made CO2 emission to a sustainable level.”
Global shipping industry is discussing how to make use of the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic islands and the Northern Sea Route along the Russia’s Siberian coast. But with the present decline in sea ice, it might soon be possible to sail right across the Arctic Ocean on the top of the world. That was what the Chinese icebreaker “Snow Dragon” did in August, as reported by BarentsObserver.
Professor Peter Wadhams, member of the Polar Ocean Physics Group of Cambridge University, has predicted the total collapse of Arctic sea ice in summer months for many years.
“The main cause is simply global warming: as the climate has warmed there has been less ice growth during the winter and more ice melt during the summer,” he says to the Guardian.
"This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates."