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Arctic sea ice extent remains low; 2009 sees third-lowest mark
At the end of the Arctic summer, more ice cover remained this year than during the previous record-setting low years of 2007 and 2008. However, sea ice has not recovered to previous levels. September sea ice extent was the third lowest since the start of satellite records in 1979, and the past five years have seen the five lowest ice extents in the satellite record.
NSIDC Director and Senior Scientist Mark Serreze said, Its nice to see a little recovery over the past couple years, but theres no reason to think that were headed back to conditions seen back in the 1970s. We still expect to see ice-free summers sometime in the next few decades.

This is a press release from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), which is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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17 Sep 2009

Arctic sea ice at third lowest level
Sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean reached the third lowest level on record last year, according to the latest NASA statistics.

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Cargo ships navigate Northeast Passage for the first time
It is a dramatic symbol of global warming and a potentially lucrative new trade route between Europe and Asia.
Two German container ships have successfully navigated the Northeast Passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic for the first time in a voyage that was considered impossible until just a few years ago.

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Arctic Warming
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Arctic Warming Overtakes 2,000 Years of Natural Cooling
Arctic temperatures in the 1990s reached their warmest level of any decade in at least 2,000 years, new research indicates. The study, which incorporates geologic records and computer simulations, provides new evidence that the Arctic would be cooling if not for greenhouse gas emissions that are overpowering natural climate patterns.
The international study, led by Northern Arizona University and the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), will be published in the September 4 edition of Science. It was primarily funded by the National Science Foundation, NCAR's sponsor.

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Arctic Seafloor
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Expedition to Map the Arctic Seafloor
American and Canadian scientists are setting sail this summer to map the Arctic seafloor and gather data to help define the outer limits of the continental shelf.
Each country may exercise sovereign rights over their extended continental shelfs natural resources of the seabed and subsoil. These rights and authorities include control over minerals, petroleum and sedentary organisms such as clams, crabs and coral.

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The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square kilometres of ice on Sunday in a relentless summer of melt, with scientists watching through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap.
From the barren Arctic shore of this village in Canada's far northwest, 2,414 kilometres north of Seattle, veteran observer Eddie Gruben has seen the summer ice retreating more each decade as the world has warmed. By this weekend the ice edge lay some 128 kilometres at sea.

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Arctic sea ice images derived from classified data should be made public
Hundreds of images derived from classified data that could be used to better understand rapid loss and transformation of Arctic sea ice should be immediately released and disseminated to the scientific research community, says a new report from the National Research Council. The committee that wrote the report emphasized that these Arctic images show detailed melting and freezing processes and also provide information at scales, locations, and time periods that are important for studying effects of climate change on sea ice and habitat -- data that are not available elsewhere.

"To prepare for a possibly ice-free Arctic and its subsequent effects on the environment, economy, and national security, it is critical to have accurate projections of changes over the next several decades. Forecasts of regional sea-ice conditions can help officials plan for and adapt to the impact of climate change and minimise environmental risks" - committee chair Stephanie Pfirman, professor and chair of the department of environmental science at Barnard College, New York City.

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Arctic ice
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Un nouveau regard sur la disparition de la banquise arctique
Le comportement mécanique de la banquise arctique favoriserait son démantèlement et son déclin rapide. En s'appuyant sur le mouvement d'un réseau de bouées dérivantes, des chercheurs de l'INSU-CNRS, de l'Université Joseph Fourier et de l'Université de Savoie ont mis en évidence une forte augmentation de la vitesse de dérive des glaces et de la déformation interne de la banquise depuis 30 ans. Ces deux effets liés aux propriétés mécaniques de la banquise contribuent par eux-mêmes au déclin rapide de la banquise arctique. Cette étude est publiée dans le Journal of Geophysical Research du 14 mai 2009.

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The Catlin Arctic Survey, a gruelling 73-day expedition to measure the thickness of sea-ice, has ended.
At 1750 BST on Wednesday, two planes landed safely on the floating Arctic ice to collect Pen Hadow, Ann Daniels and Martin Hartley.
Their data will help study the impacts of global warming in the region.

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Nations scramble to claim their share of the petroleum riches trapped deep within the Arctic seabed as global warming loosens that ocean's icy grip on its bounty
As a nuclear-powered icebreaker crunched through 10 feet of August ice at the North Pole, Russian sailors readied two deepwater submersibles for their two-and-a-half-mile descent. Dubbed Mir 1 and Mir 2 (mir meaning "world"), the subs were aptly named - their deployment was about to catch the world's attention. A hole opened in the ship's wake, and the subs were lowered. At the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, one sub took seabed samples, the ostensible purpose of the mission, while the other deposited a titanium capsule containing a Russian flag, symbolically claiming this undersea turf for its homeland.

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A nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean in the summer may happen three times sooner than scientists have estimated.
New research says the Arctic might lose most of its ice cover in summer in as few as 30 years instead of the end of the century.

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