Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.
– Mark Twain
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) on Thursday said the U.S. must prepare for an Arctic Ocean that is ice-free in the summer months within the next 20 years.
Sullivan, speaking at a hearing for the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, which he chairs, pointed to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicating that as of 2011, Arctic sea ice was “42 percent thinner than it was in 1979.”
“If this trend continues, the Arctic Ocean may be ice-free during the summer months within the next 20 years,” he said.
There has been no trend in sea ice extent or volume over the past 12 years.
Arctic sea ice is about two meters thick – the same as 60 years ago and 80 years ago.
Some scientists estimate that the polar ice pack is 40 per cent thinner and 12 per cent less in area than it was a half-century ago, and that even within the lifetime of our children the Arctic Ocean may open, enabling ships to sail over the North Pole
Although the idea that a solid ice sheet covers the central Arctic has lingered stubbornly in the popular fancy, the northern cap of ice worn by our planet is actually a thin crust—on the whole, only about seven feet thick—over an ocean two miles deep in places.
October 19, 1958
Polar temperatures are on an average six degrees higher than those registered by Nansen 40 years ago. Ice measurements were on an average only 6½ feet against from 9¼ to 13 feet.
February 23, 1940
There is no indication of a long term decline in Arctic sea ice. It fluctuates cyclically with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.