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Arctic melting brings benefit

Aug. 6, 2011 at 8:03 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The Arctic Ocean will be almost ice-free this summer for the first time in three decades, which scientists say will have some positive impacts on the region.

Measurements show the arctic had the least sea ice coverage in July ever recorded, CNN reported Saturday.

"This is just part and parcel of the decline that we've seen in the overall ice extent because the Arctic is warming up," said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Ice in the arctic has been declining more each summer, and even the oldest ice in the arctic, which is the thickest and most resistant to melting, has begun to dwindle.

"This is man-made; there seems to be little doubt in that," Serreze said. "It would be reversible if we were to do something about our carbon dioxide emissions, [but] I don't see much of a fat chance in hell we're going to see any change here. We're going to have to adapt."

Climate change in the area will cause rising sea levels, loss of habitat for Arctic fauna, drinking water shortages, territorial disputes over newly open waters and more, Serreze said.

However, he added, a benefit of the climate change in the arctic is that warmer winters and springs will lengthen growing seasons and perhaps allow for farming in areas where it previously was impractical.

Topics: Mark Serreze
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