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Those portions of Earth's surface where water is in solid form, including sea ice, lake ice, river ice, snow cover, glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, and frozen ground (which includes permafrost).

First Ships Traverse An Ice-Free North Pole. The North Pole could be free of sea ice next summer or the one after, according to a leading climate scientist, who predicts that the impact of Arctic melting on the planet and its population will be profound.

First Ships Traverse An Ice-Free North Pole

Cambridge University Professor Peter Wadhams, who is head of the Polar Oceans Physics Group, believes that ships will be able to sail over the North Pole in summer 2017 or 2018. “You will be able to cross over the North Pole by ship,” he told the Guardian. “There will still be about a million square kilometres of ice in the Arctic in summer but it will be packed into various nooks and crannies along the Northwest Passage and along bits of the Canadian coastline. " An ice-free central basin of the Arctic will accelerate the pace of global warming, Wadham says. Sea ice reflects more of the sun’s energy back into space than water – about 50% of solar radiation, compared with less than 10%.

“Sea ice also acts as an air-conditioning system. The result? Share Written by. Glacier National Park Now Glacier-Free. Arctic Summer Sea-Ice a Thing of the Past. Evidence continues to mount that climate change has pushed the Arctic into a new state.

Arctic Summer Sea-Ice a Thing of the Past

Skyrocketing temperatures are altering the essence of the region, melting ice on land and sea, driving more intense wildfires, altering ocean circulation and dissolving permafrost. A new report chronicles all these changes and warns that even if the world manages to keep global warming below the targeted 2°C threshold, some of the shifts could be permanent. Among the most harrowing are the disappearance of sea ice by the 2030s and more land ice melt than previously thought, pushing seas to more extreme heights. An iceberg collapses, Disko Bay, West Greenland. Credit: Carsten Egevang/ Greenland Experiencing Ice-Free Summers. AP Photo/Matt York At this point, you're probably fully aware of how hot it is.

Greenland Experiencing Ice-Free Summers

But in case you're unaware: It's really, really hot. In fact, it's likely that 2016 will be the hottest year on record, increasing 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.3 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial averages. That brings us dangerously close to the 2.7-degree-Fahrenheit (1.5-degree-Celsius) limit set by international policymakers for global warming. "There's no stopping global warming," Gavin Schmidt, climate scientist and director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, told Business Insider.

That means even if carbon emissions dropped to zero tomorrow, we'd still be watching human-driven climate change play out for centuries. This is what the Earth could look like within 100 years if we do, barring huge leaps in renewable energy or carbon-capture technology. Jet Stream Drives Arctic Melt into Uncharted Waters. Delaware-Sized Berg May Soon Detach From Antarctica. The Doomsday Glacier. In the farthest reaches of Antarctica, a nightmare scenario of crumbling ice – and rapidly rising seas – could spell disaster for a warming planet.

The Doomsday Glacier

Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is so remote that only 28 human beings have ever set foot on it. Knut Christianson, a 33-year-old glaciologist at the University of Washington, has been there twice. A few years ago, Christianson and a team of seven scientists traveled more than 1,000 miles from McMurdo Station, the main research base in Antarctica, to spend six weeks on Thwaites, traversing along the flat, featureless prairie of snow and ice in six snowmobiles and two Tucker Sno-Cats. "You feel very alone out there," Christianson says.

He and his colleagues set up camp at a new spot every few days and drilled holes 300 feet or so into the ice. But Christianson and his colleagues were not just ice geeks mapping the hidden topography of the planet. And that's just the picture in the U.S. Dr. Mercer was most interested in West Antarctica.