Scientists to start study of North Pole ice-cap melt
A group of European scientists is launching an Arctic probe to study the ice-cap melt and predict the date for a complete meltdown at the North Pole.india Updated: Nov 21, 2007 16:47 IST
A group of European scientists is launching an Arctic probe to study the ice-cap melt and predict the date for a complete meltdown at the North Pole. The survey comes in the backdrop of the melting of snow in the polar region that led to an ice-free north-west passage for the first time this summer.
“The survey will provide the most detailed and accurate data ever recorded of its thickness and enable the scientists to predict more precisely than even before when the North Pole ice cap will cease to be a year-round global feature,” said Joao Rodrigues of the Polar Oceans Physics Group, University of Cambridge.
Come February, the three-member team led by polar explorer Pen Hadow will start a 120-day journey from Point Barrow, Alaska, crossing 2,000 kilometres of the ice cap in temperature as low as minus 50 degree Celsius.
The team will make 10 million readings using a specially-developed, four kilogram impulse radar, backed by manual ice-drilling, to determine snow and ice-thickness.
The data collected by the team will be studied by scientists at NASA, the UK Met office and University College of London’s Center for Polar Observation and Modelling.
The International Panel for Climatic Change (IPCC) has predicted that the Arctic ice-cap will disappear between 50-100 years and during the 21st century sea levels will rise between nine and 88 centimetres.
The ice-cap covers almost three per cent of the earth’s surface and reflects approximately 80 per cent of incoming solar energy.
Its removal would allow 70 per cent more of the sun’s energy to be absorbed by the earth’s surface in this region.