Monday, December 11, 2006

Arctic May Be Ice-Free by Summer 2040 - Study

Global warming could leave the the Arctic without ice during the summer as early as 2040, a study by a team of US and Canadian scientists shows.

The research, to be published by the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters on Tuesday, found that the extent of sea ice each September could be reduced so abruptly that, within about 20 years, it may begin retreating four times faster than at any time in the observed record.

"We have already witnessed major losses in sea ice, but our research suggests that the decrease over the next few decades could be far more dramatic than anything that has happened so far," said lead researcher Marika Holland from the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

"These changes are surprisingly rapid," Holland said in a news release on Monday.

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