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Multiple Studies Reveal Dire Meltdown in Arctic

Dramatic Meltdown Now Occurring
As of September 21,2005 (Image shown on right) sea ice extent stood at 4.18 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles)--an increase of 50,000 square kilometers (19,000 square miles) compared to the value of 4.13 million square kilometers (1.59 million square miles) observed on September 16, (Image shown at left) which appears to be the 2007 minimum.
Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.


By Andrea Thompson
Live Science Reporter

Two new studies by scientists who keep an eye on sea ice melt have provided further evidence that the Arctic is currently suffering the brunt of global warming's effects, with the ice becoming thinner and winter ice also beginning to decline.

Ice melt in the summer is a normal phenomenon: As summer temperatures heat up the Northern Hemisphere, Arctic sea ice begins to melt, and its edge retreats and covers less of the North polar region. When temperatures begin to drop again in the winter, the ice reforms.

But in recent years, rising air and ocean temperatures, fueled by global warming, have caused more and more ice to melt each summer, with ice extent reaching a record low on Sept. 16 this year, according to the University of Colorado at Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Winter sea ice, on the other hand, had remained fairly steady—until now.

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