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6/19/2008

Artic Sea Ice 'Melting Fast

EARTH CHANGE

The Arctic
Arctic sea ice is melting even faster than last year, despite a cold winter. The year began with ice covering a larger area than at the beginning of 2007. But now it is down to levels seen last June, at the beginning of a summer that broke records for sea ice loss. Scientists say that much of the ice is so thin that it melts easily, and the Arctic may be ice-free in summer within five to 10 years. A few years ago, scientists were predicting ice-free Arctic summers by about 2080. Then computer models started projecting earlier dates, around 2030 to 2050. By the end of last year, one research group was forecasting ice-free summers by 2013. "I think we're going to beat last year's record melt, though I'd love to be wrong. If we do, then I don't think 2013 is far off anymore. If what we think is going to happen does happen, then it'll be within a decade anyway." The ice cap holds enough water to lift sea levels globally by about seven metres (22ft) if it all melted.
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