Global Warming: Coast Guard tracks Arctic Ocean changes

New equipment deployed to help monitor impacts of melting sea ice

Open water just beyond the edge of the ice pack in Sept. 2012. Photo courtesy Ignatius Rigor.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — For better or worse, the Arctic is changing fast, and even if greenhouse gas emissions dropped to zero tomorrow, those changes are likely to continue for decades, and perhaps centuries.

In response to the changes, the U.S. Coast Guard and the University of Washington are partnering to get more data on the region, starting by deploying sensors and other equipment through cracks in the ice from an airplane hundreds of feet in the air.

This year saw record ice melt, and some scientists speculate that the Arctic ocean could be entirely ice free in summer during the next few decades.

“It used to be that the ice just pulled back a bit from the beach each year,” said Jamie Morison, an oceanographer at the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory. “Now we’re seeing huge areas of open water.” Continue reading

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