This summer may see first ice-free North Pole
There's a 50-50 chance that the North Pole will be ice-free this summer, which would be a first in recorded history, a leading ice scientist says. The weather and ocean conditions in the next couple of weeks will determine how much of the sea ice will melt, and early signs are not good. The chances for a total meltdown at the pole are higher than ever because the layer of ice coating the sea is thinner than ever. A large area at the North Pole and surrounding the North Pole is first-year ice - That's the stuff that tends to melt out in the summer because it's thin. Preliminary February and March data from a NASA satellite shows that the circle of ice surrounding the North Pole is "considerably thinner" than scientists have seen during the five years the satellite has been taking pictures. They think there is slightly less than a 50-50 chance the North Pole will be ice-free. Last year was a record year for ice melt all over the Arctic and the ice band surrounding the North Pole is even thinner now. There is nothing scientifically significant about the North Pole, but there is a cultural and symbolic importance. It's home to Santa Claus, after all. Last August, the Northwest P***age was open to navigation for the first time in memory.