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Water Flowing Into Arctic Warmest in 2,000 Years February 4, 2011
Arctic Ocean - USCG
Warmer currents and other aspects of climate change appear responsible for the dramatic loss of summertime sea ice around the North Pole in recent years.
Water flowing into the Arctic Ocean from the North Atlantic is warmer than it has been for at least 2,000 years, in a trend scientists say is likely to produce ice-free summers around the North Pole within only a few years’ time.

Writing in the journal Science, German researcher and lead author Robert Spielhagen says that such a warming in the Fram Strait “is significantly different from all climate variations in the last 2,000 years.”

That body of water between Greenland and Norway’s Svalbard archipelago has warmed about 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 100 years.

That’s 2.5 degrees warmer than during the Medieval Warm Period, when Vikings farmed in Greenland from about A.D. 900 to 1300.

The report says the warming current is “presumably linked to the Arctic amplification of global warming” and “is most likely another key element in the transition to a future ice-free Arctic Ocean.”

The findings were made by examining ocean sediment cores dating back 2,000 years to determine past water temperatures.

Photo: Patrick Kelley - U.S. Coast Guard