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Home >> Sci-Edu
UPDATED: 12:32, April 20, 2005
Arctic icecap to melt completely by 2080, Chinese scientist
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A Chinese scientist predicted that the icecap of the Arctic area in summer will totally disappear if the current melting speed remains unchanged.

Zhang Zhanhai, director of Polar Research Institute of China, said that the melting rate of Arctic ice is "alarming" -- with the ice area shrinking by 10 percent and the thickness by 42 percent over the past 30 years.

"If this situation keeps unchanged, the world should be prepared for a more sizzling summer," Zhang warned at the ongoing seventh Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW), being held in Kunming, capital city of southwest China's Yunnan Province, from April 18 to 24.

China is a Northern Hemisphere country with sophisticated natural and environmental variations and any changes take place in Arctic area will directly affect the climate of China, experts say.

Zhang said, the cold front that affects China mainly comes from Siberia, but the source of the cold front is Arctic. "To some extent, Arctic is an 'air conditioner' of countries in the North Hemisphere," Zhang said.

"With more ice melting and the shrinking of permafrost, the Northern Hemisphere countries will experience more awful weather," said Zhang.

The direct influence of Arctic on the climate in Northern Hemisphere countries has remained a top concern of experts attending the summit.

Launched in 1999, the summit has become a platform where experts from various countries exchange views and Arctic research achievements, covering influence of human activities, ocean ecology, climatic changes, mechanism of polar climate formation, among others.

China has contributed many efforts to study the polar regions, including the sporadic observation activities since 1990s and the latest establishment of Yellow River observation site in Norway in July, 2004.

The melting of Arctic ice will not only be a sign of threat, it is also a good news, Zhang said.

"It is at least a good news for ocean shipping," said Zhang. " We can cut the journey by one-third by traveling directly to the Atlantic via the Bering Strait Gateway and via the Arctic Ocean."

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