Arctic ice is melting faster than expected and could raise the average global sea level by as much as five feet this century, an authoritative new report suggests. The study by the international Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, or AMAP, is one of the most comprehensive updates on climate change in the Arctic, and builds on a similar assessment in 2005.
The full report will be delivered to foreign ministers of the eight Arctic nations next week, but an executive summary including the key findings was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.
It says that Arctic temperatures in the past six years were the highest since measurements began in 1880, and that feedback mechanisms believed to accelerate warming in the climate system have now started kicking in.
One mechanism involves the ocean absorbing more heat when it's not covered by ice, which reflects the sun's energy. That effect has been anticipated by scientists "but clear evidence for it has only been observed in the Arctic in the past five years," AMAP said.
The report also shatters some of the forecasts made in 2007 by the U.N.'s expert panel on climate change.
The cover of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean, for example, is shrinking faster than projected by the U.N. panel. The level of summer ice coverage has been at or near record lows every year since 2001, AMAP said, predicting that the Arctic Ocean will be nearly ice free in summer within 30-40 years.
TVNL Comment: Just ask every one of the GOP presidential hopefuls. They'll tell you global warming is a hoax. How sad is that? Just asking....