Arctic to be ice free within a decade

Findings from an Arctic expedition have claimed the area will be almost 'ice-free' during the summer within the next decade.

The report, released today (October 15) by the Catlin Arctic Survey and World Wildlife Fund, claims further evidence of the Arctic Ocean sea ice thinning.

The Catlin Arctic Survey, completed earlier this year, provides the latest ice thickness record, drawn from the only survey capturing surface measurements conducted during winter and spring 2009.

The data collected by manual drilling and observations on a 450-kilometre route across the northern part of the Beaufort Sea, suggests the survey area is comprised almost exclusively of first-year ice.

This is a significant finding because the region has traditionally contained older, thicker multi-year ice.

Catlin Arctic Survey expedition leader, Pen Hadow, said: "This is the kind of scientific work we always wanted to support by getting to places in the Arctic which are otherwise nearly impossible to reach for research purposes.

"It's what modern exploration should be doing. Our on-the-ice techniques are helping scientists to understand better what is going on in this fragile ecosystem."

Luke Walsh


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