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Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published April 28 2012

Weather Talk: Chances of ice-free Arctic this summer virtually zero

Back in September 2007, when the Arctic sea ice reached the minimum extent recorded since 1979, it generated quite a bit of news coverage. Many so-called experts went on to predict that the Arctic Ocean would be ice-free during the summer in the upcoming years, with some predicting the Arctic would be ice-free by the summer of 2012.

Arctic sea ice is currently running either at or above average, depending on which source you use. (There are several countries and agencies that keep track of ice conditions around the world, and they differ slightly from each other.) With sea ice currently running near or above the long-term average, and with the melt season in the Arctic starting a few weeks later than usual this year, the chance of the Arctic becoming anywhere near ice-free this summer is virtually zero.

Instant communication and a 24-hour news cycle can often make the normal seem abnormal. We all need to realize that sea ice has fluctuated greatly on decadal time scales since the ice-age glaciers retreated, and these variations are normal.

Have a weather question you’d like answered?

Email weather@wday.com, or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

Read the blog at http://stormtrack.areavoices.com/