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Sea ice melting faster than expected

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A NASA study finds that Arctic ice is melting faster than expected. Mark Brush reports.

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Mark  Brush
July 20, 2009

A NASA study finds that Arctic ice is melting faster than expected. Mark Brush reports:

In the winter - Arctic ice builds up. But when the sun starts to shine on the pole - like it is now - some of that ice melts. But there's a thicker ice sheet that can usually survive through the summer. On average it's nine feet thick.

NASA recently published a new study on that thick ice in the in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans. They measured the ice from 2004 to 2008. In that time - 42% of this thick ice melted.

Ron Kwok headed up the study for NASA. He says when you lose this thick ice - it changes things:

"There's a lot of heat going into the ocean. Whereas if you had an ice cover, a lot of that radiation is reflected back into space."

Kwok says a warmer ocean in the arctic speeds up melting. And warmer arctic waters can drive all kinds of big changes in climate patterns around the world.

For the Environment Report, I'm Mark Brush.

2009 Environment Report

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