Global warming: Is Arctic ice at a tipping point?


Summit County Citizens Voice

CU Boulder researchers lead effort to study changes in the Arctic sea ice

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A research effort led by the University of Colorado Boulder is launching a two-year study of Arctic sea ice to determine whether areas like the Beaufort Sea and the adjacent Canada Basin have passed a ‘tipping point’ and now are essentially sub-Arctic zones where ice disappears each summer.

Such ice loss could be causing fundamental changes in ocean conditions, including earlier annual blooms of phytoplankton, which are microscopic plant-like organisms that drive the marine food web.

The team will use unmanned aircraft and satellites to ocean buoys in order to understand the characteristics and changes in Arctic sea ice, which was at 1.67 million square miles during September 2011, more than 1 million square miles below the 1979-2000 monthly average sea ice extent for September — an area larger than Texas and…

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