Saturday, November 17, 2007

Frosty Projection for Our Planet

QUEBEC – The Arctic Ocean could run out of ice as soon as 2010 or 2015. This has happened for more than a million years, according to a leading researcher. Louis Fortier, director of ArcticNet, a research network, said the sea ice is melting faster than predicted by models created by international scientists, who forecasted the Arctic Ocean could be free of summer ice as early as 2050. But Fortier told an international conference in Quebec City Thursday that the worst-case scenarios are becoming reality.

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"The frightening models we didn't even dare to talk about before are now proving to be true," Fortier told CanWest News Service, referring to computer models that take into account the thinning of the sea ice and the warming from the albedo effect - the Earth is absorbing more energy as the sea ice melts.

The great melting, uncovering vast stretches of the Arctic Ocean, will open up the Northwest Passage as a shortcut to Asia, something explorers have been dreaming about since Christopher Columbus reached America.

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