A researcher uses a spectroradiometer to measure the amount of sunlight reflected from the surface of ice and melt ponds in the Chukchi Sea. Credit: NASA/Kathryn Hansen The thickening atmospheric stew of greenhouse gases is punching holes in Arctic sea ice, leading it to crumble at a rapidly increasing rate. Last spring, ponds of meltwater on the ice sped the melting of the glossy shield that reflects incoming heat from the sun back to space. By July, the ice had dwindled to a record low extent for that month. It could disappear as soon as 2035, scientists said this week, as they released a study showing how the formation of melt ponds on the surface of the sea ice drove it to completely melt away about 130,000 years ago in an era called the Last Interglacial—probably the last time the Arctic Ocean was ice-free during summer. Observations show melt […]