Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rate of Decline in Arctic Ice Increasing

The amount of ice being formed in the Arctic winter has declined sharply in the past two years.

For years, scientists have reported a steady decrease in summertime Arctic ice, but they had never before found a similar reduction in the amount of ice being created during the frigid and dark Arctic winter.

But a new paper by Josefino Comiso, a senior research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, found precisely the reduction in wintertime ice over the past two years that the model had predicted. The past two winters each produced 6 percent less ice than the average amount measured for almost three decades.

Comiso yesterday called the new data from satellite imaging of ice formation and temperatures "the strongest evidence of global warming in the Arctic so far. ... The abnormally low winter ice maximum extent and area and enhanced surface temperatures in 2005 and 2006 . . . may just be the beginning of these trends which have been more apparent in other seasons."


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