A study by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has found that the Arctic ice is melting faster than expected and will decline by 40 percent by 2050.
The estimate is based on a study of national and international computer models keeping the period 1979-1999 as a base. An earlier report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had found that sea loss was greater in the summer in Arctic Sea located north of Alaska, Canada and Asia.
The IPCC report had placed the blame on greenhouse gases and had said that unless these emissions were controlled, the Arctic Sea would almost disappear by the turn of the century.
The new report by James Overland, an oceanographer at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and Muyin Wang, a meteorologist at NOAA's Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington, seems to reinforce these findings.
"The amount of emissions we have already put out in the last 20 years will stay around for 40 to 50 years," Overland said. "I'm afraid to say that a lot of impacts we will see in the next 30 to 40 years are pretty much already established."
Using their computer simulated analysis, the researchers said that because of wind and water currents, the Arctic Sea located in Baffin Bay will not experience many changes. However the same could not be said of Alaska's Bering Sea.
"You will actually have a change in the whole ecosystem. You will have winners and losers. Crabs, clams, walrus and bears will not do well. Salmon, pollock and other fisheries that live higher up in the water column will extend their range," Overland said.
The details of the study are due to be published September 8 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.
Last Mod: 07 Eylül 2007, 16:50