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Arctic to melt by 2060: Study

The earth could warm by two degrees Celsius between 2026 and 2060, a study has revealed.
PTI | By IANS, London
PUBLISHED ON JAN 31, 2005 05:51 PM IST

Dangerous levels of climate change could come about in just over 20 years and the earth could warm by two degrees Celsius between 2026 and 2060, a new study has revealed.

According to a study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), temperatures at the Arctic could rise by three times the projected figure for the rest of the world, leading to a loss of summer sea ice and tundra vegetation.

This would lead to polar bears and other animals dying out, reported news portal Free Internet Press.

This would also mean a fundamental change in the lifestyles of the Inuit and other Arctic residents, according to the paper "Arctic Climate Change with a two degree Celsius global warming" submitted to the WWF by Mark New from Oxford University.

"A very robust result from global climate models is that warming due to greenhouse gases will reduce the amount of snow and ice cover in the Arctic, which will, in turn, produce an additional warming as more solar radiation is absorbed by the ground and the ocean," New said.

Ice and snow reflect more solar radiation than unfrozen surfaces.

According to WWF, perennial ice or summer sea ice is currently melting at a rate of 9.6 percent a decade and will disappear completely by the end of the century if this continues.

Boreal forests consisting of predominantly coniferous trees would spread north and overwhelm up to 60 percent of the dwarf shrub tundra, a critical habitat and vital breeding ground for many birds.

The report will now be presented at the three-day "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change" conference to be held at Exeter in Britain from Tuesday.

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