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Arctic meltdown may travel to India, push up sea levels

india Updated: Oct 16, 2009 23:47 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
Arctic meltdown

The Arctic ice cap would not have any snow during summers, reveals a new study by the World Wide Fund for Nature and Cambridge University released on Friday.

A warmer Arctic means more ice would melt, releasing more water into the seas, which can make small island nations like the Maldives vanish by 2100.

Several small islands in Sunderbans, the delta of river Ganga in West Bengal, have gone under water because of rising sea level. Half of these islands would be under water by 2050, studies by Jadhavpur University have said.

“Water in seas from colder region moves to warmer areas like India, causing the sea to rise,” said A S Unnikrishnan, senior climate scientist with the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography.

The study, which compared ice thickness during winter and spring in 2009 to the corresponding period last year, comes at the time when there is a deadlock over a global agreement on climate change, to be signed at Copenhagen in December.

The agreement wants rich countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from the current levels by 2020.

According to the latest United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change statistics, the United States was among the biggest carbon emitters with annual emissions of 5,752,289 thousand metric tonnes in 2007.

Releasing the study in London, Cambridge University’s Professor Peter Wadhams, an expert on Arctic Ocean ice, predicted that the ocean would be completely ice-free during summer months as early as 10 years.