Sen. Kerry predicts ‘ice-free Arctic’ in ‘5 or 10 years’

Speaking at a town hall-style meeting promoting climate change legislation on Thursday, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) predicted there will be “an ice-free Arctic” in “five or 10 years.”

“The arctic ice is disappearing faster than was predicted,” Kerry said. “And instead of waiting until 2030 or whenever it was to have an ice-free Arctic, we’re going to have one in five or 10 years.”

However, the Web site of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says: “Using the observed 2007/2008 summer sea ice extents as a starting point, computer models predict that the Arctic could be nearly sea ice free in summertime within 30 years.”

NOAA cites as its source on Arctic sea ice a study published in the April 3, 2009 edition of Geophysical Research Letters by J.E. Overland and Muyin Wang. (Overland works for NOAA at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and Wang is at the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, University of Washington, in Seattle.)

In his talk on Thursday, Kerry said environmental degradation is happening faster than previously anticipated.

“Every single area of the science, where predictions have been made, is coming back faster – worse than was predicted,” Kerry said. “The levels of carbon dioxide that are going into the ocean is higher. The acidity is higher. It’s damaging the ecosystem of the oceans.”

“You know, all of our marine crustaceans that depend on the formation of their shells — that acidity undoes that,” he said. “Coral reefs – the spawning grounds for fish. Run that one down and you’ll see the dangers.

Penny Starr, CNS NEWS, 23 July 2010. Full article.

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