According to the informal betting pool among scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado there's a 50/50 bet that the geographic North Pole will melt away completely this summer.
The ice had retreated to a record level in September when the Northwest Passage, the sea route through the Arctic Ocean, opened up briefly for the first time in recorded history.
According to the center's senior research scientist, Mark Serreze, specific weather patterns will determine whether the North Pole's ice cover melts completely, but the speed at which the projections for total ice loss at the pole have increased is really disturbing. With many scientists predicting just a few years ago that total loss would not occur in summer until at least 2050.
Symbolism of North Pole Melting
And while the North Pole itself is just another geographic point on the Arctic map, but as Serreze points out, "There's supposed to be ice at the North Pole. The fact that we may not have any by the end of this summer could be quite a symbolic change."
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