Thursday, April 24, 2008

Global Warming Is Affecting Arctic Faster, WWF Says

April 24 -- Global warming is hitting the Arctic harder and faster than scientists expected, causing unforeseen changes to the frigid region's ice, wildlife, atmosphere and oceans, the conservation group WWF said.
The most prominent differences observed over the last three years include a ``massively accelerated'' decline in summer sea ice and ``much greater'' shrinking of the Greenland Ice Sheet, the environmental campaign group, known in the U.S. as the World Wildlife Fund, said in a 123-page report today.

``We're seeing more rapid temperature-warming,'' Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, said by phone. The best explanation is ``a trigger from greenhouse gases,'' he said. Scambos wasn't involved in the WWF report.

Conserving Arctic ecosystems requires slashing emissions blamed for climate change and reducing human activities that threaten the region that stretches between the North Pole and the northern timberlines of Eurasia and North America, the WWF said.

``Whatever happens in the Arctic is of global concern,'' Martin Sommerkorn, climate change adviser at WWF and the study's author, said today in a phone interview from Norway's Lofoten Islands, inside the Arctic Circle. ``We're going into a very uncertain future where we don't understand the changes that are already happening with global climate change.'' More >>>