Record Heatwave Hits Arctic

Scientists stunned as temperatures trigger drastic change
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2007 8:09 AM CDT
This satellite image released by NASA in 2005 shows the concentration of Arctic sea ice. There was less sea ice in the Arctic on Friday than ever before on record, and the melting is continuing, the National...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Record high temperatures have hit parts of the Arctic, triggering a dramatic melt off of sea ice and tundra, and shocking scientists, reports the Independent. Temperatures as high as 72 degrees fahrenheit (22C) on Melville Island, usually one of the coldest places in North America, melted permafrost and set off catastrophic mudslides. "The landscape was being torn to pieces before our eyes," said a member of the team who recorded the fluctuation.

Typical temperatures during the same period average 41 degrees (5C). Arctic sea ice last month shrank to the lowest levels ever recorded. "We are in the midst of dramatic change in the Arctic," said a researcher.  "The ice cover is dwindling, the ocean and atmosphere are becoming steadily warmer, the currents are changing."