Predicted dates when the Arctic polar ice cap will disappear during a summer have been getting earlier and earlier. The date can’t get any earlier than the one predicted by Dr. Olav Orheim, head of the Norwegian International Polar Year Secretariat, in an interview with the Chinese news service Xinhua. Orheim says that the ice cap may disappear this very summer. All it would it would take according to Orheim is that the average temperature for Norway this year equal that of last year. He said that in 2000 the ice cap was 7.5 million square kilometers whereas during the warmest weeks of the summer last year it reached a low of 3 million square kilometers.
If Orheim’s prediction comes true perhaps this will be a good thing in that it could be a wake up call just before decisions have to made about what to after the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012. As we have seen it is nearly impossible to put a dent in the business-as-usual attitude which pervades the world. Some tangible evidence of a startling change in the climate such as the temporary loss of the Arctic polar ice cap might help trigger a reaction in politicians and the public to finally take climate change seriously.