Once again changes are happening faster than climate models have predicted. This time it is the rate that ice is disappearing in the Arctic. According to an article in The Vancouver Sun scientists from Canada who studied the Arctic ice from a research ship last winter found much more melting than expected. In fact the melting was so profound that is was the first time a research ship was able to remain in open water during the winter. The leader of the research team, Professor David Barber from the University of Manitoba, said that the melting was occurring “much faster than our most pessimistic models suggested” and estimated that the Arctic would be ice-free during the summer between 2013 and 2030 (the article incorrectly says winter). Although the rate of melting surpasses the models Barber refers to other scientists have predicted the Arctic being ice-free by 2013 before. A BBC article from 2007 describes this prediction by Professor Wieslaw Maslowski from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.
The findings by the Canadian scientists appear to confirm the possibility that sooner rather than later instead of ice reflecting sunlight in the Arctic during the summer months the darker ocean will be absorbing the sunlight, thereby creating more warming which in turn could speed up the thawing of Arctic tundra which could release the greenhouse gas methane which would produce more warming and so on. It seems hard to believe but according to the latest scientific research in only a little more than 1,000 days we may reach this ominous situation.