The melting of ice in the Arctic Ocean has revealed previously undiscovered islands, one approximately the size of a basketball court. Reuters reports that the formerly submerged islands are unclaimed by any government but lie near Svalbard, the Norwegian territory north of the Arctic Circle. The discoveries raise fears that scientists have underestimated the accelerating pace of global warming.
At a seminar this weekend in Ny Ålesund, a settlement in Svalbard and the world's northernmost working town, Norway's environment minister warned that ice reductions are accelerating more quickly than predicted. One scientist at the conference predicted that the Arctic ocean may be ice-free as early as 2050. New islands have also been found in recent years near Greenland and north Canada.