Arctic Thaw Set at 40% by 2050
Researchers put 40% of Arctic underwater by 2050
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2007 6:47 PM CDT
Icebergs are seen off Greenland's eastern coast in this July 17, 2007 file photo near the arctic circle. Danish scientists aboard powerful icebreakers head for the Arctic ice pack north of Greenland on...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – At least 40% of the polar icecap will be gone by 2050, Seattle scientists predicted today, putting the meltdown way ahead of earlier predictions that so much ice would take a century to vanish. Greenhouse gases, which linger in the atmosphere for up to 50 years, are primarily responsible for the acceleration, the Seattle Times writes.

"I'm afraid to say a lot of the impacts in the next 30 to 40 years are already established," one scientist says–bad news for ice-dependent polar bears and walruses, as well as the environment at large. This year saw the lowest ice levels ever, and the start of an international race for territory still underwater.