A hundred years ago the glacier reached into the sea, now islands are replacing the ice cap.
PREVIOUSLY unknown islands are appearing as Arctic summer sea ice shrinks to record lows, raising questions about whether global warming is outpacing UN projections, experts say.
Polar bears and seals have also suffered this year on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard because the sea ice they rely on for hunts melted far earlier than normal.
"Reductions of snow and ice are happening at an alarming rate," Norwegian Environment Minister Helen Bjoernoy said at a seminar of 40 scientists and politicians that began yesterday in Ny Alesund, 1200km from the North Pole.
"This acceleration may be faster than predicted" by the UN climate panel this year, she said.
Ny Alesund calls itself the world's most northerly permanent settlement, and is a base for Arctic research.