"Scant Arctic Ice Could Mean Summer 'Double Whammy'"

"Scant ice over the Arctic Sea this winter could mean a 'double whammy' of powerful ice-melt next summer, a top U.S. climate scientist said on Thursday.

'It's not that the ice keeps melting, it's just not growing very fast,' said Mark Serreze, director of the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.

In January, Arctic sea ice grew by about 13,000 square miles (34,000 sq km) a day, which is a bit more than one-third the pace of ice growth during the 1980s, and less than the average for the first decade of the 21st century.

Arctic ice cover is important to the rest of the world because the Arctic is the globe's biggest weather-maker, sometimes dubbed Earth's air-conditioner for its ability to cool down the planet."

Deborah Zabarenko reports for Reuters February 5, 2010.

Source: Reuters, 02/05/2010