An Ice Free Arctic Sea? The Science of Sea Ice and Its Interests
In this chapter we want to see what historical narratives can tell us in order to better understand our concerns with the vanishing ice as evidence of a current mega-transition. Was the 2007 minimum unique? When and why did science start to study Arctic sea ice? Have there been periods of an ice-free Arctic Sea in the past? And, if they did occur, how does it impact on interpretations of our present- time discourse on the possible emergence of anice- free Arctic Sea? Climate change may, in retrospect, have appeared an obvious companion idea, but this relationship between ice and climate was rarely put forward as a serious alternative for the immediate future on the human timescale of decades, generations, or even centuries. But when it finally was, comparatively late in the middle of the twentieth century, sea ice was part of the story. We start by visiting the idea of an ice-free Arctic in the past, then moving on to the scientific undertakings on sea -ice in the Soviet Union. Interwar efforts outside the Soviet Union were as only matched by Nordic researchers, with whom we deal with subsequently. Finally we discuss the Cold -War effortsand their military connections. That science is interest-driven is evident throughout the entire period. Sea- ice minima may comprise straightforward facts, but the underlying knowledge is the outcome of a complex science politics of circumpolar ice.