El deshielo del Ártico

BERLÍN – Una calamidad silenciosa, en gran medida inadvertida, se ha estado revelando en las últimas semanas en el Ártico. Las consecuencias de largo plazo serán de mayor alcance que las de la crisis de deuda internacional o las de la desaparición de la dictadura libia, que son las noticias que ahora concentran la atención de los medios de comunicación. El drama –más precisamente, la tragedia- que ahora tiene lugar en el Norte es la rápida desaparición de la capa de hielo polar, la característica principal del Océano Ártico.

En septiembre, la capa de hielo en el Océano Ártico se derritió hasta igualar el mínimo histórico que se registró en septiembre de 2007. Con 4.4 millones de kilómetros cuadrados de superficie, era la capa más pequeña desde que se empezaron a hacer observaciones con satélite hace cuarenta años, con 40% menos hielo que en los años setenta y ochenta.

En 2007, ese mínimo histórico sorprendió a los científicos, que lo consideraron un valor atípico dentro de una tendencia general más lenta de adelgazamiento de la capa de hielo del océano. Culpamos a las condiciones inusuales de los vientos en el Ártico ese año. Sin embargo, los datos recopilados por el satélite desde ese entonces nos han hecho ver nuestro error. Este año, se registró un nivel igualmente bajo sin que hubiera condiciones excepcionales en los vientos. Ahora es evidente que estamos presenciando un adelgazamiento continuo y también acelerado de la capa de hielo del océano.

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