CNN is reporting the North Pole could be ice-free this summer. Looking at the NSIDC website its hard to see that we are likely to have a bigger melt than last year though - ice coverage seems to be tracking pretty close to last year's trajectory and its almost July.
The North Pole may be briefly ice-free by September as global warming melts away Arctic sea ice, according to scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.
Scientists say it's a 50-50 bet that the thin Arctic sea ice will completely melt away at the geographic North Pole. "We kind of have an informal betting pool going around in our center and that betting pool is 'does the North Pole melt out this summer?' and it may well," said the center's senior research scientist, Mark Serreze.
The ice retreated to a record level in September when the Northwest Passage, the sea route through the Arctic Ocean, opened briefly for the first time in recorded history. "What we've seen through the past few decades is the Arctic sea ice cover is becoming thinner and thinner as the system warms up," Serreze said.
Specific weather patterns will determine whether the North Pole's ice cover melts completely this summer, he said. "Last year, we had sort of a perfect weather pattern to get rid of ice to open up that Northwest Passage," Serreze said. "This year, a different pattern can set up. so maybe we'll preserve some ice there. We're in a wait-and-see mode right now. We'll see what happens."