Record low 2008 Arctic ice a probability

BOULDER, Colo. (UPI) — U.S. climate scientists are forecasting a 3-in-5 chance of record low amounts of Arctic sea ice forming this year. The University of Colorado-Boulder researchers said their forecast of a 59 percent chance of record low Arctic sea ice is based on satellite data, temperature records and a preponderance of younger and thinner ice.

The scientists at the university’s Center for Astrodynamics Research noted the extent of Arctic sea ice has declined roughly 10 percent during the past decade, culminating in a record 2007 minimum ice cover of 1.59 million square miles. That broke the 2005 record by 460,000 square miles — an area the size of Texas and California combined. Changes in Arctic sea ice are “one of the more compelling and obvious signs of climate change,” said Sheldon Drobot, who leads the center’s Arctic Regional Ice Forecasting System group.

He said continued Arctic sea ice declines likely will negatively impact various kinds of wildlife, including polar bears, walruses and seals. The University of Colorado-Boulder’s Arctic Regional Ice Forecasting System group says it is the only research group in the world issuing seasonal Arctic sea ice forecasts based on probability.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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