Study: Arctic ice at record low point

June 3, 2010 at 3:12 PM
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COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 3 (UPI) -- A U.S.-led group of international scientists says it has determined less ice now covers the arctic region than at any time in recent geologic history.

The team led by Ohio State University compiled what it said is the first comprehensive history of arctic ice. For decades, scientists have collected sediment cores from the difficult-to-access Arctic Ocean floor, to discover what the arctic was like in the past. The study's goal was to bring a long-term perspective to the recent ice loss.

"The ice loss that we see today -- the ice loss that started in the early 20th century and sped up during the last 30 years -- appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years," said Leonid Polyak, a research scientist at the university's Byrd Polar Research Center and a lead author of the study.

"The newest satellite techniques and field observations allow us to see that the volume of ice is shrinking much faster than its area today," Polyak said. "The picture is very troubling. We are losing ice very fast."

The study that included Canadian, Danish, Swedish and British researchers is to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Quarternary Science Reviews.

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