Melting Ice
© John McConnico/AP
Icebergs float in a bay off Ammassalik Island, Greenland, on July 19, 2007.

New satellite images from NASA reveal that Arctic Ocean ice is melting much faster than anyone had predicted. One scientist fears that 2012 may mark the end of summer ice in the Arctic Sea.
"Arctic Sea Ice Gone in Summer Within Five Years?" shouted the National Geographic headline just five years ago.

"An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer - a sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point," wrote Seth Borenstein on December 12, 2007.

"One scientist even speculated that summer sea ice could be gone in five years," warned Borenstein."At this rate," said NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally, "the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."

"The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming," said Zwally. "Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines."

It will be interesting so see how Mr Borenstein spins the latest news out of the Arctic, that "the heaviest polar ice in more than a decade could postpone the start of offshore oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean until the beginning of August."

"The heaviest polar ice in more than a decade." So much for Mr Zwally's ice-free Arctic summer. I hope his canary didn't freeze to death.