Apr 7, 2009 | 1
Forget the Russians moving troops north of the Arctic circle to protect "vital interests," even U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recognizes that the rules for the poles have changed. At the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting and the Arctic Council in Baltimore this week she called for "strengthening environmental regulation" for the South Pole in the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959.
"With the collapse of an ice bridge that holds in place the Wilkins Ice Shelf, we are reminded that global warming has already had enormous effects on our planet, and we have no time to lose in tackling this crisis," she said. "We need to increase our attention not only to the Antarctic but to the Arctic as well."
Aug 27, 2008 | 1
For the second year in a row, the fabled Northwest Passage has opened in the Arctic—thanks to a sea-ice melt that has already shrunk the polar cap to the second smallest extent ever recorded. And with a few more weeks to go in the summer thaw season, 2008 could surpass 2007 as the smallest amount of sea ice on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
This year's record-breaking melt was, to some extent, set up by the 2007 season—also a record-breaker. More open ocean means more trapped heat in the water, which means that thinner ice forms during the long Arctic winter. Thinner ice melts more readily when temperatures rise. So, despite a relatively cool summer this year, the sea ice is just melting away.
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