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2/24/2009

Growing Arctic sea ice likely to melt

A University of Manitoba climate researcher says the growth of Arctic sea ice in 2008 is not cause for optimism.
What scientists are seeing is mostly thin, first-year ice that is likely to melt during the summer, David Barber is quoted as saying this week in the Winnipeg Free Press.
The amount of thicker multi-year ice that once covered the entire Arctic basin before it began melting decreased last year, Barber said.
Satellite images have recorded that sort of decrease for the last three decades, noting a decline of more than 10 per cent per decade.
The 2007 retreat in ice was the largest on record, allowing clear navigation of the Northwest Passage for the first time in human memory.
In another surprising development, satellite images taken last July showed a slab of ice measuring four square kilometres had broken away from the Ward Hunt Island Ice Shelf in Nunavut.
Canadian and U.S. researchers who studied the fracture said it was more evidence of accelerated climate change in the northern polar region.
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