Greenland's Arctic ice melted at rates far surpassing any previous year in 2007, according to new data, indicating that the change is happening far faster than predicted. "The Arctic is screaming," said one scientist. If melting continues at this rate, the Arctic Ocean would be "nearly ice-free" in 2012, warned another researcher.
Based on previous patterns, 2007 was expected to be a slow melting year. Now researchers fear that melting may have reached a "tipping point," setting off a cascading process. Sea ice reflects about 80% of the sun's heat away from the Earth, but less ice means the oceans will heat up, thereby melting ice even faster.