(CNSNews.com) – A 2007 prediction that summer in the North Pole could be “ice-free by 2013” that was cited by former Vice President Al Gore in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech has proven to be off… by 920,000 square miles.
In his Dec. 10, 2007 “Earth has a fever” speech, Gore referred to a prediction by U.S. climate scientist Wieslaw Maslowski that the Arctic’s summer ice could “completely disappear” by 2013 due to global warming caused by carbon emissions.
Gore said that on Sept. 21, 2007, "scientists reported with unprecedented alarm that the North Polar icecap is, in their words, 'falling off a cliff.' One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week warns that it could happen in as little as seven years, seven years from now."
Maslowski told members of the American Geophysical Union in 2007 that the Arctic’s summer ice could completely disappear within the decade. “If anything,” he said, “our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer… is already too conservative.”
The former vice president also warned that rising temperatures were “a planetary emergency and a threat to the survival of our civilization.”
However, instead of completely melting away, the polar icecap is at now at its highest level for this time of year since 2006.
Satellite photos of the Arctic taken by NASA in August 2012 and August 2013 show a 60 percent increase in the polar ice sheet, more than half the size of Europe, despite “realistic” predictions by climate scientists six years ago that the North Pole would be completely melted by now.
Instead of shrinking, the NASA photographs clearly show that the Arctic ice sheet is much larger than it was at the same time last year. The thick layer of summer ice, which currently stretches from Canada to Russia, is preventing ships from using the North-West Passage.
A Dec. 12, 2007 BBC article quoted Professor Maslowski and his team of climate researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. explaining how they used “a high-resolution regional [computer] model for the Arctic Ocean and sea ice forced with realistic atmospheric data" to make their predictions.
"This way, we get much more realistic forcing, from above by the atmosphere and from the bottom by the ocean,” he said.
NASA spokesman Steve Cole told CNSNews.com that the space agency is in charge of monitoring polar ice "as part of our Earth sciences" mandate. "We have a number of different satellites orbiting the Earth and observing the ice sheets and a lot of other things around the clock, and we are funded to collect that data."