Arctic sea ice to melt by 2015: Expert

November 10th, 2011 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 10 (IANS) The Arctic Sea ice could completely melt away by mid 2015, destroying the habitat of polar bears and other endangered animals, says an expert.

Peter Wadhams, professor at Cambridge University, warned the ice over the Arctic Sea is shrinking so fast that it could be gone in about four years.

Although it would reappear again every winter, its absence during the peak of summer would rob polar bears of their summer hunting ground and threaten them with extinction.

The ice mass between northern Russia, Canada and Greenland waxes and wanes with the seasons, currently reaching a minimum size of about four million square kilometres, The Telegraph reported.

Most models, including the latest estimates by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), track the decline in the area covered by ice in recent years to predict the rate at which it will deteriorate.

Citing a research by Wieslaw Maslowski, from the American Naval Postgraduate School, Wadhams said such predictions failed to spot how quickly climate change is causing the ice to thin.

While the IPCC suggests the ice will remain in place until the 2030s, Maslowski’s study takes into account the rate at which it is thinning and calculates it will vanish much more quickly.

Maslowski’s model, along with his claim that the Arctic sea ice is in a “death spiral”, were controversial but Wadhams, a leading authority on the polar regions, said the calculations had him “pretty much persuaded”.

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