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Global Warning
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An ice-free North Pole by 2040? This is not a scene scripted for a science fiction movie. US climatologists have warned that the ice is melting so fast in the Arctic region that the area will become an open sea in 30 years. The North Pole, one of the planet's most inaccessible landscapes, will soon be accessible to tourists, according to their theory.

Such a possibility may be good news for adventurer travelers, but to planet Earth and species on it, it sounds a dire warning.

Over the past 25 years, Arctic ice has been reduced by 25 percent. As the ice melts, the ocean transports more heat to the Arctic and the open water absorbs more sunlight, further accelerating the rate of warming and the loss of more ice.

A recent study by the Global Carbon Project said that emissions were rising more than twice as fast as they were in 2000, which was likely to speed up ice loss in the Arctic even further.

The rapid rate of sea ice melting will seriously affect ecosystems and societies and they will face huge challenges adapting to these changes.

Global warming knows no borders. Between 60-70 percent of the world's cities, with a population of 200,000, are located in coastal areas. These metropolises are the most populated and economically prosperous cities in the world.

Rising sea levels would flood these areas causing economic devastation.

The alarm bell of global warming should not fall on deaf ears.

Scientists have recommended that a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions widely accepted as the prime cause of global warming would significantly slow down the ice melting process.

While the total ice loss in the Arctic will not happen in another 30 to 50 years, according to the scientists, many parts of the world are in a winter without snow and are experiencing lot of abnormalities.

Disappearing ice is already causing problems for the polar bear. Other wildlife, including seals, also will likely to suffer.

Warm weather lures animals from winter hideouts. Bears are unable to hibernate, emerging from their winter burrows to catch some sun. This winter flowers were blossoming in Beijing, and mushrooms were sprouting outside Moscow, where warm temperatures were prompting birds at the zoo to breed, an activity usually reserved for spring.

All these incidents are part of the phenomenon of global warming already blamed for turning European ski resorts into grass meadows, driving exotic fish across to the British coast, and whipping up ever more destructive natural disasters.

The US climatologists' assumption that the Arctic will be ice-free by 2040 or earlier may be personal point of view.

However the impact of greenhouse gas emissions is a hard fact, which nobody can deny.

(China Daily December 18, 2006)

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