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Global waming

By 2040, there will be no ice left at the North Pole, scientists predict

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: global waming, North Pole, climate change

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(NewsTarget) A study published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal this week indicated that the Arctic pole could go from winter wonderland to warm water in a little over 30 years.

Currently, Earth's North Pole is already warmer than the South Pole because it lies at sea-level in the middle of an ocean. This causes the pole to act as a heat collector rather than at altitude in a continental land mass like the South Pole.

The North Pole sea ice is about two to three meters thick with some open water areas visible at times due to water movement. But that thickness has decreased in recent years due to global warming according to some experts.

"The effects of greenhouse warming are starting to rear their ugly head," said Mark Serreze, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Although the argument rages on regarding the effects of pole melting due to global warming, Arctic water fails to freeze back in winter according to some reports -- and it is a natural process that has been going on for a thousand years.

This is the second year in a row that the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean didn't manage to reach its normal winter size. The result is that the ice has been shrinking at an overall rate. Rapid global climate change could cause a serious expansion of open water in the upcoming summer, some recent climatologists have said.

Last month, the sea that was frozen covered an area that was 2 million square kilometers less than the historical average. "That's an area the size of Alaska … we're no longer recovering well in autumn anymore," says leading ice expert Mark Serreze from the University of Colorado. "The ice pack may now be starting to get preconditioned, perhaps to show very rapid losses in the near future." ###

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