News of the WeekClimate Change

Will the Arctic Ocean Lose All Its Ice?

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Science  03 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5446, pp. 1828
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5446.1828

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According to reports in this issue of Science (pp. 1934 and 1937) and the 15 December issue of Geophysical Research Letters, the arctic ice pack is not only shrinking in area but rapidly thinning as well. The big question now is what's causing the shrinkage: natural polar climate fluctuations or global warming due to increasing levels of greenhouse gases. If it's all natural, the loss of arctic ice should eventually reverse, but if global warming is at fault, the entire ice pack will eventually disappear, with drastic climate implications for the Northern Hemisphere.