Arctic summers could be ice-free as early as 2030, said Dr. Mark C. Serreze, director of the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC - part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences based at the University of Colorado in Boulder) in the briefing for a seminar to be held on Tuesday, July 16th, at 10 a.m. EDT. 

In the session "Environmental Impacts of the Arctic's Shrinking Sea-Ice Cover" he will examine the social and economic effects of the retreat of the Arctic Ice Cap and the opening of the Arctic Ocean.  Registration is open to everyone free of charge.

He says it is time to shift the focus from "What happened?" to "What happens now?" Already, the reduction in ice is increasing coastal wave action and erosion in high latitudes, he notes. The shift is also causing strong rises in air temperature during the fall months—not just near the surface, but high into the atmosphere. This strong warming - "Arctic amplification" - is having increasingly wide-ranging impact down into the middle latitudes. At the same time, the retreating ice cover is opening up to the Arctic to maritime shipping, oil and gas exploration, and other economic activities.

In his research, Serreze focuses on climate variability and change, with an emphasis on the cryosphere - the world of cold and ice - including studies of hydroclimatology, surface and atmosphere energy budgets, synoptic climatology, and atmospheric dynamics. 

"Environmental Impacts of the Arctic's Shrinking Sea-Ice Cover" is the ninth of eleven monthly webinars examining the oceans, the oceans' impact on human life, and human life's impact on the oceans. The presentations will be available live, and archived talks can be viewed without charge at the RCN web site and(also reachable via

The "Blue Marvel—Ocean Mysteries" webinar series is made possible by a grant from NSF to the IEEE Committee on Earth Observations.