Old Arctic Ice Melting Away

Formations older than 1 year see heavy declines
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2008 7:22 PM CDT
Old Arctic Ice Melting Away
This May 18, 2006 photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, shows walrus on an ice flow in the northern Bering Sea off of Alaska.    (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Liz Labunski)

(Newser) – The Arctic's oldest, thickest ice is melting and may undermine the entire Arctic ice cap, NASA satellite photos show. Some 965,300 square miles of perennial ice, more than a year old, has melted over the past year—a 50% decrease. Losses of older, hardier frost are even greater: Three quarters of ice more than 6 years old has melted in the past 12 months.

"It's like looking at a Hollywood set," one scientist said. "It may look OK but if you could see behind you'd see it's just empty." A melted Arctic would not raise sea levels, but can increase global warming by replacing reflective ice with dark water—which absorbs more sunlight, Reuters reports. (Read more Arctic Circle stories.)

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