The Arctic is melting faster than expected

by Michelle Frey

May 4, 2011

The Arctic is melting faster than expected and could contribute 2-3 feet more in global sea levels by 2100 than earlier thought, experts state in a new report. The report shatters predictions made four years ago by the authoritative U.N. climate change panel.

“The observed changes in sea ice on the Arctic Ocean, in the mass of the Greenland ice sheet and Arctic ice caps and glaciers over the past 10 years are dramatic and represent an obvious departure from the long-term patterns,” the international Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program says in its report.

The report compiles the latest science on how climate change has impacted the Arctic in the past six years.

Melting Arctic glaciers and ice caps are projected to help raise global sea levels by 35 to 63 inches by 2100, the program’s scientists stated.

While the program noted the estimate was highly uncertain, the range was a sharp jump from a 2007 projection of 7 to 23 inches by the U.N.’s scientific panel on climate change. Those numbers did not include a possible acceleration of a thaw in polar regions.


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