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Data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has indicated a dramatic increase in sea ice extent in the Arctic regions. The growth over the past year covers an area of 700,000 square kilometers: an amount twice the size the nation of Germany.
With the Arctic melting season over for 2008, ice cover will continue to increase until melting begins anew next spring.
TORONTO (AP) — A chunk of ice shelf nearly the size of Manhattan has broken away from Ellesmere Island in Canada's northern Arctic, another dramatic indication of how warmer temperatures are changing the polar frontier, scientists said Wednesday.
Derek Mueller, an Arctic ice shelf specialist at Trent University in Ontario, told The Associated Press that the 4,500-year-old Markham Ice Shelf separated in early August and the 19-square-mile shelf is now adrift in the Arctic Ocean.
"The Markham Ice Shelf was a big surprise because it suddenly disappeared. We went under cloud for a bit during our research and when the weather cleared up, all of a sudden there was no more ice shelf. It was a shocking event that underscores the rapidity of changes taking place in the Arctic," said Mueller.
Arctic sea ice drops to 2nd lowest level on record
More ominous signs Wednesday have scientists saying that a global warming "tipping point" in the Arctic is happening before their eyes: Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has melted to its second lowest level since satellite observations began.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., reported that the extent of sea ice in the Arctic is down to 2.03 million square miles. The lowest point since 1979 is 1.65 million square miles set last September.
With about three weeks left in the Arctic summer, this year could wind up breaking the previous record, scientists said.