What does this mean for us down here? The Data Center's senior research scientist, Mark Serreze, explained that while the loss of ice at the North Pole is symbolic at this point, the fact that we're losing ice this soon to global warming is "astounding" to him. Scientists had predicted this event closer to 2030. He told CNN:
While cutting global warming emissions now will help to slow more of the effects, our actions have committed us to some warming:
"It's not cyclical at this point. I think we understand the physics behind this pretty well. We've known for at least 30 years, from our earliest climate models, that it's the Arctic where we'd see the first signs of global warming...It's a situation where we hate to say we told you so, but we told you so."
"If we had a few cold years in a row, we could put sort of a temporary damper on it, but I think at this point going to an ice-free Arctic Ocean is inevitable. I don't think we can stop that now."Photo credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center