Much of the Earth’s frozen north will be completely defrosted by the end of the century, according to recent studies. New measurements of the sea ice around the North Pole show it’s been reduced by about 4% per cent a decade. If the warming trend continues, Arctic sea ice could eventually disappear almost completely during the summer. This would be tough on the 22,000 polar bears that live there, since they need ice to stand on while they hunt for seals. Polar bears cold be wiped out in the wild by the next century.

Professor Ola Johannessen of Norway and his team have measured sea ice across the entire Arctic region using vibrations that estimate the thickness of ice. Also, satellite measurements show that the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by sea ice has shrunk by about 8% over the past twenty-five years, with the biggest decline occurring in summer. Johannessen thinks this is largely the result of global warming caused by man-made pollution. He says, “We believe there are strong indications that neither the warming trend nor the decrease of the sea-ice cover over the last two decades can be explained by natural processes alone.”

The world is becoming a much different place from the one our ancient ancestors traveled in.

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