ARCTIC MELTDOWN: A HARSH NEW REALITY TRANSFORMS THE ARCTIC
By PAUL KOBERSTEIN
Dramatic climate changes in the Arctic are sending an unmistakable signal that global warming is advancing much more rapidly on Earth than scientists thought. Many now say that the time to deal with the crisis is rapidly running short.
The Arctic, which plays a vital role in keeping the Earth cool, is having trouble keeping its own cool. Scientists have assembled a mountain of incontrovertible evidence chat warming is fundamentally, rapidly changing the Arctic, none clearer than the retreat of its late summer sea ice, triggered by air temperatures chat have been rising at twice the rate as the rest of the planet.
And the retreat is accelerating. Until recently, climate models published by the U.N. International Panel on Climate- Change (IPCC) have predicted a complete retreat of the late summer sea ice by the end of this century. But the IPCC's models may need drastic revision, as a number of scientists now think the ice could disappear as soon as the next decade. Species that depend on the ice for their subsistence and survival - including humans, polar bears, walruses and ice seals - are facing significant disruptions in their lives.