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Record Arctic warming to boost sea level rise

by Staff Writers
Oslo (AFP) May 3, 2011
Record warming in the Arctic over the past six years will substantially contribute to a global sea level rise of up to 1.6 meters by 2100, according to a study published in Oslo Tuesday.

"Surface air temperatures in the Arctic since 2005 have been higher than for any five-year period since measurements began around 1880," the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) said.

"In the future, global sea level is projected to rise by 0.9 to 1.6 meters (2.95 to 5.25 feet) by 2100 and the loss of ice from Arctic glaciers, ice caps, and the Greenland Ice Sheet will make a substantial contribution to this," the authors of the study said, stressing, however "that high uncertainty surrounds estimates of future global sea level."

The melting of polar region ice could have disastrous effects on low altitude coastal regions, including in faraway regions.

Temperatures are rising twice as quickly in the Arctic as on the rest of the planet, and "in the future, average autumn-winter temperatures in the Arctic are projected to increase even more," the authors said.

The hike would amount to 3.0 to 7.0 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2080, they said.

"And the Arctic Ocean is predicted to be nearly ice free in summer during this century. Likely within the next 30 to 40 years," they added.

The full report will be presented at a meeting of Arctic Council member countries the United States, Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland in the Greenland capital Nuuk on May 12.

The AMAP was set up in 1991 by the eight Arctic Council members.

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