Why We Need Action on the Environment

If any explorers had been hiking to the North Pole this summer, they would have had to swim the last few miles. The discovery of open water at the Pole by an ice-breaker cruise ship in mid August surprised many in the scientific community.

This finding, combined with two recent studies, provides not only more evidence that the Earth's ice cover is melting, but that it is melting at an accelerating rate. A study by two Norwegian scientists projects that within 50 years, the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free during the summer. The other, a study by a team of four U.S. scientists, reports that the vast Greenland ice sheet is melting.

The projection that the Arctic Ocean will lose all its summer ice is not surprising, since an earlier study reported that the thickness of the ice sheet has been reduced by 42 percent over the last four decades. The area of the ice sheet has also shrunk by 6 percent. Together this thinning and shrinkage have reduced the Arctic Ocean ice mass by nearly half.

From Common Dreams Newscenter

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