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Polar ice loss heralds a change in the weather
Written by Daniel   
Wednesday, 17 September 2008 10:44

Polar ice loss heralds a change in the weather

By Tim De Chant | Published: September 17, 2008 - 09:44AM CT
ARS Technica

With the autumnal equinox less than a week away, a months-long night is about to descend on the North Pole. As the sun sweeps lower across the arctic skies, ice sheets that cap the northern ocean are beginning to expand. While this summer's minimum polar ice extent failed to surpass last year's retreat, scientists are not greeting the news with a sigh of relief.

The record minimum set in 2007 caught many by surprise, but this year's observations are equally disconcerting. Experts expected the winter of 2007-2008 to bolster the sea ice and hold the 2008 minimum well above the record low. Instead, the 4.52 million square kilometers of ice recorded on September 12, 2008 was just 10 percent shy of the record minimum. These numbers make for good press, experts say, but the real focus should be on the overall trend towards ice-free summers in the Arctic. [Comments...]


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