Arctic sea ice is melting at its fastest pace in almost 40 years

Sunday, September 11, 2011 - 16:30 in Earth & Climate

The Northwest Passage was, again, free of ice this summer and the polar region could be unfrozen in just 30 yearsArctic sea ice has melted to a level not recorded since satellite observations started in 1972 – and almost certainly not experienced for at least 8,000 years, say polar scientists.Daily satellite sea-ice maps released by Bremen university physicists show that with a week's more melt expected this year, the floating ice in the Arctic covered an area of 4.24 million square kilometres on 8 September. The previous one-day minimum was 4.27m sq km on 17 September 2007.The US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, which also tracks the extent of sea ice, has not posted data for a week but is expected to announce similar results in the next few days.The German researchers said the record melt was undoubtedly because of human-induced global warming. "The sea-ice...

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